How does shadow banning work in Call of Duty?

Call of Duty Shadow Ban system (Image via YouTube/TastyFPS)
Call of Duty's shadow ban system explained (Image via YouTube/TastyFPS)

Call of Duty's shadow ban system is an integral part of the effort taken by developers to combat cheating in the franchise's titles. This, along with the RICOCHET anti-cheat, is a package that is being used to combat cheaters in the game.

However, a shadow ban is very different from a permanent ban on Call of Duty accounts. One major contrast that can be immediately noted is that a player can still play if they are shadow banned, rather than not being able to play at all in case of the other.

As such, players who are innocent of cheating in the game might sometimes not even notice that they might have been shadow banned, despite having to face the consequences. Thus, this article will shed some light on the Call of Duty system so that players can gain awareness about it.

Details regarding Call of Duty's shadow ban system

The best way to describe this Call of Duty system is to compare it to a review period. A person usually gets shadow banned if they have been reported multiple times in a small interval by their oppenents. These reports, along with other flags, usually lead to the system placing the account under review.


However, this review is a silent process and the only indications that a player might get are a bit subtle. Usually when this happens, they are made to lobby with similar gamers who are also under review for alleged cheating.

As such, searching for a match under shadow ban will result in the system searching for lobbies with above 350ms ping, despite having a stable internet connection, and the matchmaking time being much longer than usual.

These two are the usual indicators that are noticed if a player is under the shadow ban. After a long matchmaking period, if they find themselves in lobbies filled with cheaters, then they can be sure that they are under review.


The shadow ban occurred because there has been a red flag for cheating on the account and the system will lobby such players together to prevent under-review cheaters from entering normal lobbies in Call of Duty. This bad lobbying remains until the system is done with the review process.

How to remove the shadow ban

The shadow ban, despite being an anti-cheat system, has its fair share of cons. Due to rage and false reporting being very common in online games, innocent players who don't cheat sometimes also end up getting placed under review.

In such a case, those who are truly innocent will unfortunately have to wait for a week or two before the review period is over and they will be automatically unbanned. This is very inconvenient, but the epidemic of cheaters in Call of Duty results in a long review process.

An appeal to the developers (Image via Activision)
An appeal to the developers (Image via Activision)

If one is innocent, they can contact Activision and appeal for a review against the ban. Though there is also a certain period in this case, the waiting time is usually less than the automatic unban system.

If they are actually found to be cheating in the shadow ban review, then they can be sure that the account will definitely be upgraded to a permanent ban. This will result in them not being able to play matches from that account ever again.

Though the shadow ban system has its fair share of cons, it is a necessary evil to prevent the usual lobbies of Call of Duty from transforming into a breeding ground for cheaters.

As such, innocent players who might have been shadow banned are asked to patiently wait for the review to get over. The most common indication that the review has been lifted is the return of the usual lobbies and the matchmaking period returning to normal.

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Edited by Abu Amjad Khan
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