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Cover image for My experience being suspended on Twitter

My experience being suspended on Twitter

mitchartemis profile image Mitch Stanley Originally published at mitchartemis.dev ・3 min read

About two months ago I opened Twitter to find a modal message announcing to me that my account had been suspended. I initially thought, that's strange? Is this a bug? What could I possibly have done wrong? Twitter didn't feel it was necessary to give me any details. I was in the dark.

I waited a few weeks. Naively thinking this issue would resolve itself—that it was just a mistake. I could still view tweets from people—although depending on which Twitter client I used I sometimes only saw the last tweets before my suspension took place.

Here are some of other things I've noticed about being suspended:

  • You cannot download your data.
  • The suspension modal will popup almost randomly when browing the site.
  • Notifications will stick. If someone tags you in a tweet (which is still possible) you'll be stuck with this notification forever.
  • Follower and Following counts reset to zero.

Finally, I caved in and contacted Twitter support. According to their support website it would take 1-2 weeks for a response. I waited patiently. After three weeks I touched base as I thought my ticket was taking quite long to get a response. It was an additional 4 weeks before I finally received one.

Hello,

We’re writing to let you know that your account has been suspended—and will remain suspended—due to multiple or severe violations of our platform manipulation rules.

Please do not reply to this message as this email address is not monitored.

Thanks,
Twitter

My heart sank a little. will remain suspended. severe violations. I've had this account for close to 10 years and there's a lot of history and contacts that I no longer have access to.

After reading the platform manipulation rules I tried to put together what I had done wrong.

I believe because I retweet my side project's tweets this must count as platform manipulation. To be honest, the thought of retweeting my other account as being against the ToS had not occurred to me. I only have myself to blame for not knowing this so I'm not angry about it. I do wish there was a warning system in place rather than going straight to permanent suspension, though.

My social media moving forward

Reflecting on this experience I think it's more important than ever to control my data. Not just on Twitter but on all social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc should be a tool to share thoughts and experiences but not the soul source of them.

I have created a new Twitter account (@mitchartemis_v2) but I plan to be more purposeful with this one—to link to my own platforms, be it this blog or others.

Then there's Mastodon which I want to use more of instead of Twitter. I currently have accounts on multiple Mastodon instances and to be honest, I'm not sure whether I should be focusing on using one account or sharing posts on individual nodes related to each of my interests. For example, posting my photography on photography.social, and my programming stuff on ruby.social. Unfortunately I feel this quandary is preventing me from posting anything at all.

That's it for now. Just remember social media platforms control what happens with your data. If that data is important to you then make sure to have a back-up.

Cross-posted from my blog.

Discussion

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brandinchiu profile image
Brandin Chiu

This sucks for sure.

As a piece of advice though, I would avoid using twitter as anything close to a primary source of contact for yourself or your projects from now on.

Unfourtunately, Twitter (and other social media platforms) can be pretty arbitrary in the execution of their rules, and give the scale, it's really not possible for them to care about you unless you're partnered or got a blue check mark.

Circumventing account suspension by creating another account is ALSO against their TOS, which means any account you create from now on could be killed randomly at any time if either they're automated systems identify you, or you get reported.

So be careful, and maybe pick a new platform to be your home, and only use twitter as a marketing platform instead of a content and contacts one.

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Mitch Stanley Author

Thanks for reading!

As a piece of advice though, I would avoid using twitter as anything close to a primary source of contact for yourself or your projects from now on.

It's unfortunate but I feel the target audience for my interests (both in and out of programming) tend to be largely on Twitter.

So be careful, and maybe pick a new platform to be your home, and only use twitter as a marketing platform instead of a content and contacts one.

I'm considering Mastodon at the moment as a Twitter alternative, but I'm finding it a bit trickier to find people to follow. I'm also going to post more stuff on my own blog, and maybe here on dev.to.

Circumventing account suspension by creating another account is ALSO against their TOS, which means any account you create from now on could be killed randomly at any time if either they're automated systems identify you, or you get reported.

I did not know that—I suppose there is not much I can do about it unless I escalate and ask them for a warning instead. Thanks for the info!

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Brandin Chiu

I personally prefer Medium as a content platform to Twitter. It gives you less options to have an active conversation with your followers, but is a way better tool for providing content to them.

Dev.to is similar.

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Mitch Stanley Author

The main issue that prevents me from using Medium is how bloated it feels as a guest trying to read an article. Being forced to create an account after reading x articles, popups to sign in with OAuth etc. It feels very intrusive and frustrating to me.

It may give good tooling for providing content to followers, but to be honest the experience I get as a guest has prevented me from giving it a chance.

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Brandin Chiu

You've described the same barriers to entry that both Twitter and Dev have as well.

Any other social network will also have intrusive popups and notifications to try and get you to register (which is required to interact anyway).

Oauth makes that process as seamless as it can be. Anyone already coming from Twitter will be able to log in the same way they would if their Twitter session expired.

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Mitch Stanley Author

It's true Twitter has a similar experience as a guest, as does Facebook. I would disagree on Dev.to, though. Viewing an article as a guest on Dev.to is quite pleasant. The article loads fast and there's no obstructing of text with "Sign Up to view more" pop up modals, etc.

That said, I think I will sign up for Medium and have a look around and see if it's a better experience. I'll try crossposting to there as well.

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Brandin Chiu

I believe the "you have x more views available today" on medium is specifically for their paid content, meaning the content writer has opted-into this barrier.

Regular articles (most of the content) should not prompt users like this.