20 May 2009

Twitter Account Suspended? What to do next.

What To Do If Your Twitter Account Has Been Suspended

Your Twitter account has been suspended. You're confused and angry and want answers. You're not alone; this is becoming a frequent occurrence and Twitter admin like to hide behind some fairly nebulous terms of service.

The bottom line is that Twitter reserves the right “to refuse service to anyone for any reason at anytime.”. They can suspend your account for any reason without telling you why. If you know why you're account has been suspended then you probably won't need to read this and can merrily go ahead and create another account. If you're afraid of losing the network you have established and any reputation you feel you have gained then read on.

Twitter has gone from a lowly start-up to a major online presence in a short time, but their resources are just not keeping up with their new status. This seems to be affecting both their physical resources such as servers and bandwidth as well as their human resources such as their help system. If you feel that you need to use Twitter then you will have to protect yourself from account suspension and the consequences that arise from it, but that's for another article.

One example of this is that Twitter's help pages have a number of dead links. This look bad and means having to go the long way round to find out how to complain about your account suspension. There seem to be two ways to seek to get your account reinstated.

Twitter Support

Twitter Support currently uses the Zendesk platform to generate help tickets and (hopefully) answer them. This means they have two URLs that point to the same place:


If they ever stop using Zendesk then the first URL should still work.

If your account has recently been suspended and has not been deleted then you can login to this helpdesk with the same details as your Twitter account. Some people have found it expedient to create another Twitter account and use those details to open tickets about their suspended account. This can be useful as some users have found they can no longer login to the helpdesk if their Twitter account was terminated. The downside is that if Twitter upholds the original account suspension then you may find your new account also targeted. This choice is yours.

Online companies often hide behind the anonymity the internet affords them and Twitter is no different. You will firstly receive an automated response, which merely means a human may eventually look at your case. Most people's reaction is to then send an angry reply. From reading some people's stories the best way to get your suspended account reinstated is to make a clear logical case that you have done nothing against Twitter's TOS.

Mistakes happen and there are unpleasant people out there who want to take you off the net just because they don't like your politics, religion, race, sexual orientation or whatever. There are also spam rings on Twitter and if you unfortunately follow one of them accidentally you may be flagged as part of the ring. Whatever the reason for your suspension you might, or might not, get to know and can then act upon it either with a new account or your reinstated account.

Get Satisfaction

The second place where you can complain about your Twitter account suspension is at Get Satisfaction. This is similar to Zendesk but has the advantage that it is also a forum and other users can comment on your case and share experiences. This means you're not alone in dealing with Twitter and can see who has been reinstated and who hasn't.

Get satisfaction also has a section of Twitter Known Issues. This lists known bugs on Twitter that have led to various account problems such as the inability to login, tweets or followers gone missing and accounts accidentally blocked. If you had a lot of followers you can try to get them to support your reinstatement here. That, however, assumes you've kept an offline list of your followers: how many people do that?

Will you get your Twitter account reinstated?
Maybe, maybe not.

How long will it take?
How long is an elastic band? They seem woefully under-staffed and have seen accounts reinstated after 2 months!

Is it worth the aggravation?
That really depends on how much effort you've put into your Twitter community. If you really feel you haven't done anything wrong then it is worth pursuing as otherwise you're likely to fall into the same trap with a new account.

Where can I find Twitter's Terms of Service?
Here are Twitter's Terms of Service and Rules Policies. The section that probably affects most people is their Twitter Rules page.

Good luck... just don't hold your breath waiting.

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