Website Launch Leads to Multiple Twitter Suspensions

If you imagine the most dysfunctional government in the world, that would be akin to Twitter Support. You need access to a vital resource but you can’t get anyone to help you.

As I began work on the PortlandWild.com website, I reserved @portlandwild on Twitter. When the site was nearing launch, I went to configure @portlandwild’s profile on Twitter and discovered that it was suspended. The account had never tweeted at all so I was confused.

I began contacting Twitter support and it took about a week to get a response.

1. Permanent Suspension

At 11:03 AM this morning, I was told “Your account was permanently suspended due to multiple or repeat violations of the Twitter Rules. This account will not be restored.”

Problems with Twitter support

This account will not be restored

Again, the account had never tweeted once.

Note the helpful “Please do not respond to this email as replies and new appeals for this account will not be monitored.”

2. Caught Up in One of These Spam Groups

Then, at 11:21 AM:

Twitter spam detection

Sorry for the Inconvenience

We’ve unsuspended your account; sorry for the inconvenience…Twitter has automated systems that find and remove multiple automated spam accounts in bulk. Unfortunately, it looks like your account got caught up in one of these spam groups by mistake.

Again, this account was registered, confirmed and never tweeted. Somehow an account registered in the United States that never tweeted was caught up in its spam detection?

If you’ve been thinking Twitter has a handle on Russian election interference, then you may want to re-evaluate your optimism. I would not describe this as competent anti-spam work.

3. Your Account is Locked

With my account unsuspended, I began configuring the site to announce PortlandWild’s launch today. I added a profile photo, a header image, a bio and I set the account’s birthdate to today… because I’m launching it today.

Birthday balloons began rising up the screen. Seriously. Here’s an example I simulated from @meetingio:

twitter spam problems

Sample Twitter balloons on your birthday

I think to myself, cool! It’s PortlandWild’s launch birthday!

And then the screen refreshed:

twitter minimum age locked account parody

My website is too young to hold an account on Twitter

I started laughing out loud it was so ridiculous. I had to get up and walk away from my computer.

Twitter confused my website’s launch birthday as an unaccompanied minor…0 days old!

The form they offer … there’s no field to actually say something to a human. You have to upload an image of your drivers license. I’ve already done that for my verified account @reifman. The absolutely last thing I want to do today is upload my ID for a website account and have Twitter’s internal systems screw up my verified account. It’s just not worth it.

Portland Wild is a Website Not a Person

I tried uploading a graphical note which was stupid in retrospect:

@PortlandWild is not a human, please unlock my acount

I’ve tried contacting Twitter support and all I get is automated messages back. They want me to submit my ID, which of course, would be a duplicate of my verified account … and would probably cause additional confusion and bigger problems.

This is a situation where a human actually needs to read my support email to understand how broken their systems are. Or, to make clear that it’s safe and okay to submit my ID which I use for my verified account, for another account.

Twitter Customer Service Still Sucks

We’ve all watched Twitter improve in tiny gradual increments but generally the company still sucks at support and abuse management.

I was doxed by paid Murdoch propagandist Louise Mensch a year ago. She gave out my home address. She was allowed to keep her account after a few hours of suspension.

Recently, I’ve received four confirmations from Twitter support of fascist Twitter accounts threatening violence again individuals. Each time my reports were confirmed. And everyone of those accounts remains active. Here’s the most recent example.

Twixxr.com was an effort to elevate women’s voices on Twitter by helping people automate following leading women’s accounts. Twitter’s API shut down the site because it thought it was doing something wrong.

It’s unfathomable to imagine the scale at which Twitter support must operate but again I would gladly pay a subscription fee to have better features and customer support.

Experiencing this gives me little confidence that Twitter has its act together around foreign interference and propaganda around U.S. elections.

@portlandwild is still locked and I have no way to fix it without risking destruction of my verified personal account.

Thanks Jack.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Jeff Reifman

Jeff is a technology consultant based in the Pacific Northwest. Check out Portland Wild, a visual map-driven guide to Portland's public art, its Heritage Trees and its Little Free Libraries.