Help! My Twitter Account Is Suspended

This article has been moved to my new business website: Social Media DIY Workshop.

You can find it here.

Check out the list of articles about Twitter on that site.

About author:

Charlene is the information strategist behind Crow Information Design.

19 Responses to “Help! My Twitter Account Is Suspended”

  1. @mattsingley says:

    Good step by step account of what happened! I’m glad you (and me and so many others) were restored, I hope this is the last time it happens. I suspect it’s not, but I hope I’m wrong…I guess we’ll just have to be patient and wait for the growing pains of Twitter to be worked out.

    Thanks for the links, I really appreciate it!

    @mattsingley’s last blog post..mattsingley: @Kinchie my pleasure, just read your post…very well written!

  2. Michael says:

    It’s a problem that started with AOL, long before they ever got anyone to the internet (@1993) – the overall notion, online, that the courtesy of pre-suspension contact is not required.

    It soon seemed to became a pervasive attitude throughout the internet service provider community and here we are…Twitter picked up the same disease and continues to spread it.

  3. Kelli says:

    I am so glad you got it figured out, but what a pain! I look forward to your daily twittering. They would be fools to let this happen twice.

  4. Charlene says:

    Matt: Thanks for your assistance Sunday, and I’m more than happy to share you with my community!

    Michael: I think that Twitter is a bit overwhelmed, which also contributes to this. I also think that if we paid for Twitter use, we might have grounds to demand better customer service. Given it is a free service, I think I’ve gotten much more than I paid for it. Overall, I only have a few specific suggestions for Twitter that would improve my customer experience with them. That’s better than many of the services I do pay to use.

  5. Charlene says:

    Kelli: Thanks. I hope that by posting instructions to resolve the situation, I can help lots of people avoid the frustration of wading through their help system. Losing Twitter is bad enough!

  6. I landed here following @mattsingley’s original tweet. Though this has not happened to me personally, I know several who were affected by this. I will be passing along your steps to take following a suspension and bookmarking this for future ref.

    Thanks for being thorough – great info.

    @PearceSmithwick’s last blog post..PearceSmithwick: @KimSherrell – Letting Armin guide me down the "Spiral" to a state of concentration –

  7. jose says:

    Your experience with being suspended from Twitter and encountering various hoops to jump through to be reinstated mirrors what I experienced.

    I actually retweeted a ridiculous spam tweet that used a hashtag incongruous with what they were spamming about. (In fact, I had found that spam tweet by searching for that hashtag.) I thought the tweet randomly using a trending #hashtag to peddle its bawdy wares was funny and that others would find it funny, too. That was what led to my initial suspension.

    Apparently, when a Twitter user and their tweets are flagged as spam, Twitter’s system searches for occurrences of the text of those tweets and suspends the accounts of anyone whose tweets contain that text – including retweets.

    Fair enough, but as you mentioned, there was no warning or indication that my account was suspending except being unable to log in.

    That there is currently is no way for Twitter to intelligently decipher the difference between an real user (I had been using Twitter for a year and a half with no prior incident) and an automated spam account was as frustrating as trying to find how to file a report / file for reinstatement, which you have documented here marvelously.

    Having checked out while in the limbo of not having access to my account, I can tell you that there are plenty of folks there who were seemingly unable to find the correct link. I can also tell you that Twitter seems to avoid or ignore using despite having an account there.

    Anyway, my reinstatement was relatively swift (in comparison to a lot of folks left languishing in that limbo), but still took over 12 hours to be reinstated. An email response closing my review request and affirming (with out confirming) that it was probably the spam retweet that triggered Twitter to automatically expunge me from their good graces.

    A week later, I was suspended again.

    This time, a friend did some legwork and surmised that my “overuse” of a hashtag could be interpreted as a violation of Twitter’s terms of service. I had used the #robots hashtag (a long running joke amongst friends) while live-tweeting a viewing of the movie Heartbeeps!, starring Andy Kaufman and Bernadette Peters as robots.

    Use of the hashtag was ridiculous and silly, but harmless.

    I went about the same steps to get reinstated, but it actually took the aforementioned friend to advocate via tweeting with Twitter’s @spam account to get me back on board.

    I didn’t hear back about my review request for well over a week. They apologized for the amount of time that had transpired since I initially made the request, but had noted that it looked like my account had been reinstated through other means and that it seemed like everything was okay now.

    There was no specific mention or confirmation of why I was actually suspended this second time around.

    It definitely does pay off to be patient, but it is certainly frustrating to know that anyone’s account can be suspended with no warning and no responsibility to explaining why.

    Twitter is, of course, a free service, but how it handles suspensions is curiously out of step with its otherwise simple interface & cheerful posturing.

  8. Kristi says:

    What a pain. You managed to make the best of it by doing some investigative journalism and providing some resources for everyone, which does not surprise me. I’m off to bookmark the helpful Twitter resource links you’ve provided. Glad to have you back on Twitter.

    Kristi’s last blog post..June Wrap-Up

  9. Charlene says:

    Pearce: Hopefully, my post will show up high on Google results now and help others who have no idea where to start!

    Jose: Wow. Thanks for sharing your experience. I found GetSatisfaction as well, but because it seems dusty, I didn’t try using it. And I figure at the rate things change on Twitter, old news would no longer help me.

    Kristi: Thanks for sharing the word about the resources. The more we all know where to look, the easier it is to help each other out.

  10. I experienced the same problem – but there is a similar problem that people may not be aware of;

    A lot of tweeters have also been removed from Search & People Search. If you use hashtags to reach out to people because you’re not in search your tweets wont be seen – this also effects @mentions as well.

    Check to see if you’ve been blocked in search;

    .. replace mjnewham with your twitter ID

    Martin Newham’s last blog post..mjnewham: Afternoon people — or is it evening? what time does "evening" start?

  11. Charlene says:

    Martin: That’s interesting. I haven’t heard of this. Thanks for providing the link and educating us. Martin also wrote about this problem on his blog. Check it out!

  12. No problem, people don’t realise they’ve been removed from search, but symptoms include;

    – friends not replying (they never get your tweet)
    – new followers drop in numbers
    – hashtags don’t work

    Its frustrating, and 2,000+ are effected that we know of

    Martin Newham’s last blog post..mjnewham: #social Help! My Twitter Account Is Suspended

  13. Karen says:

    What an experience. :( I was concerned when I read about the retweet of a silly spammer. I attended a conference 2 weeks ago that managed to trend on Twitter. The hashtag was reboot11 (hash sign omitted intentionally). It turns out that scummy types latch on and use your tag with their own. Suddenly, the 600 attendees couldn’t follow the stream because of the clutter. Apparently rebootbritain had the same problem in London yesterday. At reboot11, someone was talking about the scum, so a tweet about that may have lured them out of the woodwork.

    Sad to see the pride of trending something worthy drown in that junk.

    Of course, thanks to you, Charlene, for all your great tweets and blog posts (which are piling up in my very big to-read list)!

    Karen’s last blog post..The joy of sharing ideas

  14. Temple Stark says:

    Yup, you provided help to others amid your moment of crisis – that’s who you are.

    I’m lucky enough for this not to have happened, but I’ll watch the hashtags a little more (i mostly use ones I just make up anyway. #timetodie)

    I did have my Tweet count double what it actually was for about 10 days. It finally went down – have no idea why though.

    DM numbers started to go down mysteriously yesterday by 10 or 20. It’s back up.

    Lots of little things that – except suspension – don’t matter much. But put it together, it’s a little unsettling. You get the feeling all your favorites, tweets could suddenly disappear forever. …

    In a world of uncertainty, wouldn’t it be nice if …

    Temple Stark’s last blog post..Public Performance Anxiety

  15. What the hell…? I just saw a tweet about this and clicked over to your blog. It’s a scary situation as critical as Twitter has become, it is too big for the people behind it to support.

    I had an email snafu with my account, and every ticket I opened to Twitter was just closed without any help. I got lucky and dodged a bullet, but sadly never found any way to get anyone to reply.

    Keep at it! The Twitterverse would just not be the same without @Kinchie!

  16. Charlene says:

    Karen: I figured that with all of the “celebrity pollution” on Twitter that the days of real events becoming a trending topic were over. I hadn’t heard about the situation you described. I’ve been at a conference where we used Twitter and it was such a great supplement to our interaction. I hope this problem goes away.

    Temple: I see my numbers get flaky, too. In fact, when this happened, I had 899 followers and I wondered if I had been suspended for some follower/following ratio problem at first. If reaching 900 followers was significant. Now, I consider my numbers to be ballpark estimates, and not physical world realities.

    Jeff: I think Twitter’s reporting system has a problem with the displayed status. I wonder if they know about this. I’m hoping someone with access to Ev (or someone else inside Twitter) might share a few snafus with him, just so it is on their radar.

    I really wondered if I was going to have to start all over on Twitter with new accounts. That was unnerving, to say the least.

  17. [...] Update 9 July 2009: It seems Twitter suspended a LOT of accounts recently. Charlene Kingston has the details and how to get off the suspended list if you get on it: [...]

  18. david holmes says:

    My account using Firefox said it was suspended this morning, but on Chrome i can sign in just fine!

    • Charlene says:

      That is really interesting, David. I haven’t heard of any suspension related to browsers. Have you tried to log in using Firefox since you tried using Chrome?

      Has anyone else had similar results to David?

  19. I had the same problem. But in my case I think I was deemed guilty of follower churn. Apparently if you unfollow a large group of people then follow another large group within a short period of time its a violation of the TOS. So for example, on a business profile I follow then expect to get followed back, if I’m not then I unfollow… rinse and repeat.

    Now that I understand the rule, I still have a problem because I dont understand the limits of the terms. For example, there is no number or time frame provided and it seems that the rule is a bit ambiguous.

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  1. How Twitter deals with suspended accounts « CyberText Newsletter

    [...] Update 9 July 2009: It seems Twitter suspended a LOT of accounts recently. Charlene Kingston has the details and how to get off the suspended list if you get on it: [...]

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