Why Are Twitter Accounts Suspended?

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Although Twitter gives content responsibility to its users, it suspends accounts that breach its rules in order to protect itself, its community and the wider public. If users do something illegal or unlawful, or spam other users, they risk losing their accounts. Twitter does have an appeals process for suspended accounts, but gives no guarantee of reinstatement.

Breaches of Legal Requirements

  • Twitter suspends accounts that don't comply with its legal content boundaries. For example, the social media giant prohibits users from impersonating other people and from posting tweets that contain threats of violence. Twitter policies also don't allow users to publish private information about other people without permission, such as social security numbers and addresses.

    In business terms, Twitter may suspend accounts that infringe trademark or copyright laws. The company is also careful to protect its own image and prohibits illegal activities on the site and misuse of Twitter badges without permission.

User Abuse and Spamming

  • Twitter investigates single or serial accounts that spam or abuse an individual or group of people. The company suspends users if they "squat" on usernames without using the accounts. It is against Twitter's terms of service to buy or sell usernames, followers or retweets.

    Twitter also suspends accounts that trigger spam alerts -- for example a username that uses an automated service to follow and unfollow a significant number of people or one that only posts external links. If a lot of users block an account or lodge complaints, this may also trigger a suspension, as may the use of pornographic images.

Hacking, Account Inactivity and Twitter Error

  • Sometimes, Twitter suspends users who haven't done anything wrong, either to protect the account or in error. For example, it may shut down an account if it suspects that someone has hacked it. It may also suspend accounts that have been inactive for six months or more because inactivity gives rise to suspicions of username squatting. In some cases, Twitter simply makes a mistake.

Signs of a Suspended Account

  • If an account goes quiet, disappears from searches or loses its follower/following numbers, Twitter may have suspended it. The quickest way to check your status is to log in to your account; you'll see a suspension notice after login if there is a problem. If you believe that you haven't violated any rules or are willing to try to fix the issue, you can lodge an appeal to Twitter to reverse the suspension.

Appealing a Suspended Account

  • Before you submit an appeal, read Twitter's rules to see if you can work out what triggered the suspension. If you've done something wrong, repair the damage by, for example, removing tweets or automated services. Complete and submit Twitter's online suspension appeals form, outlining any actions you've taken and stating that you won't repeat violations in the future. If you think that your account has been mistakenly suspended, say so on the form and make the point that you have double-checked the rules and can't find any rule that you have violated.

    Twitter typically sends automated emails after receiving an appeal. Make sure to respond to these messages promptly as directed to keep the appeal active. If you ignore them, Twitter may close the appeal and stop investigating the suspension. It doesn't give set timescales on the appeals process, and it may take anything from few hours to a few days to get a decision.

References

  • Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Lightwavemedia/Getty Images
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