X (or Twitter): Shadow-banning Harming Digital Artists of the new Digital Art Renaissance

KUNTA THE BLeU PEPE
3 min readOct 15, 2023

Case of a Displaced Artist and Activist

Muddled in X [Art by Author Pepe/BLeU KunTa]

What is X shadow boxing?

X shadowboxing is a practice where X restricts the visibility of a user’s account without notifying the user. This means that the user’s tweets will not appear in search results or on the timelines of their followers unless those followers specifically go to the user’s profile page.

For Digital Artists

Shadow-banning can have a number of negative consequences for digital artists and Web3 communities. Shadow banning can make it difficult for digital artists to get their work viewed by potential buyers and collectors. In the new digital art renaissance, where much of the art market is moving online, having a strong presence on social media is essential for digital artists. Shadow-banning can deprive artists of this essential tool for promoting their work.

For Web3 communities

Shadow-banning can make it difficult to build and engage with audiences. Web3 communities are often decentralized and rely on social media to connect with members and potential members. Shadow-banning can make it difficult for these communities to spread their message and reach new people.

Impact on Mental Health

In addition to these professional consequences, shadow-banning can also have a negative impact on mental health. Shadow-banned users may feel isolated and frustrated, as they may not understand why their work is not being seen. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.

Case of a Displaced Artist and Activist

As a digital nomad, Web3 community member, and displaced artist who uses their art for activism, I have experienced the negative consequences of shadow-banning firsthand. I have been shadow-banned on X for almost a year, and it has had a significant impact on my career, mental health, and ability to use my art to raise awareness about important issues.

When I was first shadow-banned, I was confused and frustrated. I didn’t understand why my tweets weren’t being seen, and I started to feel like I was being punished for something I didn’t do. I also started to feel isolated from the Web3 community, as my engagement on X dropped significantly.

After doing some research, I learned about shadow-banning and realized that I was not alone. Many other digital artists, Web3 community members, and activists have been shadow-banned for no apparent reason.

I have tried to appeal my shadow ban multiple times, but I have never been successful. X has a policy of not disclosing the reasons for shadow bans, and they do not offer a way to opt out of them.

This means that I have been unable to use X to reach my full potential as a digital artist, Web3 community member, and activist. I have also been unable to use X ads to promote my work and reach new audiences.

As a displaced artist, I rely on my art to support myself and to raise awareness about the war in my home country. Shadowbanning has made it much more difficult for me to do both of these things.

I am sharing my story to raise awareness about the negative consequences of X shadowbanning, especially for displaced artists and activists. I hope that X will change its policy and make it easier for users to appeal shadow bans. I also hope that other digital artists, Web3 community members, and activists will speak out about their experiences with shadow-banning.

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KUNTA THE BLeU PEPE

Self-Taught Artist | Freedom Activist | Human-Centered Designer and Researcher