Mapping Shadow-Ban on TikTok:

Expose hidden censorship with a cross-national research

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(Tracking.Exposed project)

Analyzing platforms

since 2016

Our tools collect data to decipher the functioning of proprietary algorithms in the public interest. (git, AGPL-3)

Check our tools also for
YouTube, FaceBook, PornHub, Amazon.

A browser extension to passively scrape TikTok and collect algorithm's outputs (such as videos suggested in the "search" page, "for you" page ...)

Mozilla Technology Fund

See the full list of projects!

TikTok observatory

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The TikTok observatory will serve as a free software where people can report topics, videos or hashtags they suspect are being “shadow-banned”.
The toolsuite will also be able to systematically test if a topic is being censored by the algorithm.


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MAKHNO is a joint effort between the Hermes Center, Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) and Tracking.Exposed.
The tool is intended to allow users to input content they believe could be at risk of being taken down.

Previous leaks

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The Intercept, 2020

Internal documents leaked by The Intercept have shown that TikTok moderators were explicitly instructed to ban politically sensitive content for the Chinese Communist Party, such as posts referring to the Tiananmen Square protests.
The company declared that these policies are no longer in place. Though, no independent study has been able to confirm their claims.

Previous researches

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ASPI (Ryan et al., 2020)

The report indicated that TikTok engages in censorship on various political and social topics such as the discussion on LGBTQ+ related topics and diverse political issues and leaders.
Specifically, the research found that shadowban and censorship are affected by country-specific content guidelines.

Collective observation:

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  1. Install the browser extension for Firefox or Chrome

  2. Perform some queries to record the algorithm suggestions.

    Try "ukraine" and "Украина", "Russia" and "Россия", "Putin" and "Путин", "Zelensky" and "Зеленский"

  3. Open your personal page and compare the results!


Our BOTS named guardoni.js
can help to scale

Adding the browserextension

By default on every new clean browser profile

Opening the ForYouPage

or performing queries (avoiding PTSD)

Unravel the algorithmic mist

starting from a .csv release

Join the project!

Participate in the research as academic and/or activist


Download the add-on
and collect data with us.