A shadowban is a ban that is is not visible to the user. That is, to you, the shadowbanned user, everything looks A-OK. But to everyone else, you are non-person. Ghost. Completely invisible.

Many social networks use some sort of shadowbanning. I’ll be honest: I do believe it’s a necessary practice for dealing with spammers and persistent trolls. Sometimes it’s best to not let the troublesome individual know they’ve been found out.

That’s not to say I agree with all applications of shadowbans. I’m talking about spammers and trolls, definitions of which can and do vary greatly, depending on the person applying the term. There’s a potential for abuse; a fear that network owners will clandestinely guide conversations to serve their own ends. And there’s a definite unfairness element as a good-faith offender never learns that what he or she did or said was out of bounds. Without feedback, how can a person adapt?

Twitter has been shadowbanning people for some time. Very recently, they’ve started sending a notification to people who’ve been shadowbanned, or suspended, a I believe they’re calling it. I don’t know what criteria Twiiter uses to dole out these suspensions, so I’m not condoning their particular implementation. But I am happy they’ve taken the step of notifying people. I believe that’s a step in the right direction.

The way Twitter’s doing it, only you and the people who follow you can see your tweets while you’re suspended.

To check if you’re currently shadowbanned or suspended from Twitter, all you need to do is log out of Twitter (or open an incognito browser, usually Shift-Ctrl-N), then do an Advanced search for tweets from your screen name. If you’re suspended, there will be no results.

Here’s a handy link, just fill in your username in the appropriate area:

https://twitter.com/search?f=tweets&vertical=default&q=from:YOUR-USERNAME-HERE&src=typd&lang=en

Remember, you’ll want to be logged out or in an incognito window while checking the results.