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[flagged] Tell HN: Reddit shadowban account upon creation
43 points by boundchecked 3 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 39 comments
Sharing this funny story so that people won't feel alone when it happen to them.

It seems my first and only reddit account created two hours ago is shadow-banned since the very beginning, tried one comment on /r/cpp and one post on /r/rust, nobody ever seen them other than one kind mod that confirmed there's nothing they can do.

Even funnier is that there is a subreddit /r/ShadowBan dedicated to test shadowban and some obvious spam-bot accounts are not banned yet mine is.

related: [1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=30344907 [2] https://old.reddit.com/r/modhelp/comments/oonfba/

EDIT: now this post got flagged as well, the funny continues.

I remember registering for Reddit with Tor, then posting my first comment, only to have it invisible when I browse in an entirely new browsing session. So I tried my trusty residential connection and then I was able to post without any shadowban in place.

I concluded they place a 'score' on your IP. Obviously Tor has low reputation, so they ban that. I imagine residential IPs due to their traceability actually helps Reddit in some cases where if you say something off-color or highly inflammatory or outright illegal, then they have grounds to call law enforcement and track you down.

Hackernews does this too. I can't create throwaway HN accounts on a VPN/Tor because my first post is always shadowbanned, but my residential IP is never banned, and my posts show up in /newest every time.

Also: Welcome to the Internet!

I've noticed instagram does this too.

You try to create a second account and they will "suspend" you automatically and force you through a verification system.

Their spam algorithms have to be better than this...

It's not just related to spam, it's also a great opportunity to collect personal data under the excuse of "security", just like they insist you enable SMS 2FA (for some reason they never insist so much about TOTP or WebAuthn/U2F 2FA, since those can't be abused to get the user's phone number).

Yes, I went through this just yesterday while trying to set up a company account. To get it unblocked I had to:

* Verify an email address through an OTP.

* Verify a phone number through an OTP.

* Upload a picture of me with my face in it, holding a piece of paper with my name, username and a six digit code they gave me written on it.

I'm very pissed.

Facebook was already caught using 2FA phone numbers for ad targeting, and they have also collected biometric data without consent for years, so you can fully expect that picture of your face to be eventually used in illegal ways by Meta.

why would you volunteer all of that personal information??

Need to get paid, need to do my job to do that.

Twitter is also more aggressive with verification challenges when I use a VPN.

I think they only let bots post on Reddit nowadays. /s

In all seriousness though, this happened to me too and I bypassed it with a clean VM (no weird fonts that can be fingerprinted), default Chrome install, standard browser window size, time zone/IP location matching, and connection to a VPN. I was able to make several accounts and none were shadowbanned.

Take heart, even if you weren't shadowbanned, with a young, low karma account your first comments on most subreddits would get automatically modded as spam by Reddit's dumpy spam filter anyway.


Best bet is if you want an alt account, make one now, use it on a few small subs, then let it sit an mature a few months.

I'm not 100% sure, but Reddit seems to shadowban accounts created from some IPs based on some reputation score. Perhaps malicious activity is occurring on your network due to malware?

May have also been unlucky enough to be reallocated someone else's toxic IP when his ISP changed his dynamic IP. That's happened to me a couple times

Could be, the sin of dynamic IP.

Can't post to Reddit? Guess what: it's not the end of the world. Think about moving on.

Most subreddits require a certain amount of karma to interact with the subreddit most don’t tell you about it some do per PM. Most of the time it’s 100-300.

Is this done globally by Reddit itself or is applied individually by subs to new accounts?

I mod a few small subs, there does not appear to be a way for mods to shadowban. I believe it's only Reddit that has the capability.

This is a global thing. Subreddit a cannot shadowban accounts.

What's the account?

same id, /u/boundchecked

Maybe just me but I'm starting to doubt any "name-and-shame" Tell HN posts from throwaway accounts.

If you are a regular here and have a proper account then why did you make a throwaway for this? If you are not a regular here then why do you make a name-and-shame post as your first post?

I can confirm what he is saying. From what I have seen, all accounts created with the web interface using only an email address are automatically shadowbanned.

I can unconfirm that this happens to everyone. My reddit account was created 4 years ago, with unconfirmed email for a long time and my posts were seen immediately. Maybe it depends on what subreddits you post to?

Things may have changed in 4 years. I only encountered this problem when trying to create a new account a few weeks ago. I had to download the app and use my Google account to make it work. (Not denying anybodys experiences, but these unwritten rules are really a bad pattern from reddit).

I have a 1 year old unconfirmed account and I'm not shadowbanned at all.

So, a temporary measure until the user confirms their email, etc?

I don't see an issue with this

Reddit previously accepted accounts with no email address. IMO this is similar to Twitter 'not requiring' a phone number but immediately flagging your account upon creation until you provide one. Now there's something to tie your would-be anonymous internet identity to your meatspace identity in the event of a data leak.

On Reddit this is especially dangerous as there's no real account-nuke option. Deleting an account doesn't touch the replies it posted & actually removes the only method of modifying them.

>Reddit previously accepted accounts with no email address

They still do, I registered without an e-mail. That may have worsened my credibility according to their algorithm, however. I considered adding an e-mail to the account but feared the possibility of my e-mail being blacklisted as well.

>Now there's something to tie your would-be anonymous internet identity to your meatspace identity in the event of a data leak.

If you register with your meatspace-related email address.

Nope, in my personal experience it's shadowbanned even after immediate email confirmation. I cannot tell much more than report what I immediately saw, I don't know more about the rules they use.

Believe it or not this is my first account on HN as well, despite regular visit for years.

All artists must have debuted sometime long after they've been hearing music, aren't they?

I did not read this post as fame and shame. OP just shared his experience with Reddit.

You can get shadowbanned on Reddit for minor offenses if you get banned from large subreddits and reported by people too many times.

Reddit, she ded

I made a post that said, "sounds like HN lmfao" and I got shadowbanned lmfao

That post or user did not get shadowbanned. I can see that comment just above this one. Yes, it has been flagged and downvoted, but you are not shadowbanned.

I never saw it, tricky algorithm isn't it.

If you want to see it, turn on 'showdead' in your profile.

It kinda sucks that the name of this concept (shadow ban) is completely ruined by analphabetic luddites (hyperbole, don't worry) calling every platform that ignores them a bunch of shadowbanners while it might simply be a case of an eventually consistent database, a hype algorithm that chose someone else's message, or a feed curation mechanism that simply doesn't include everyone else's messages.

A more usable term might be 'muted' or 'hidden' instead of a complete 'ban without letting you know'. Internally it's even more likely that they work with an extra reputation system next to the visible karma system where new accounts are simply given 'bad' reputation way sooner than they should. Considering mod-communication works fine, it's probably just shoddy spam protection systems combined with a recursive problem of not having enough reputation to post, which is required to gain said reputation.

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