If you are on Twitter for long enough, you are going to run afoul of one of their rules, resulting in your account either being locked or suspended. It doesn’t matter how it happened; what matters is how you respond.
Here is some advice I had to learn the hard way. Do whatever Twitter demands. Don’t try to appeal, argue, or do anything other than follow their commands.
My recent experiences with Twitter have taught me that:
- Twitter enforces its rules unevenly.
- It does not follow its own internal processes.
- There are no humans involved in enforcing the rules.
I have had to throw in the towel on my @ThDigitalReader Twitter account. That is a brand I have had for a decade, and it’s just gone because Twitter simply does not follow its own internal processes.
Please learn from my mistake, and do whatever Twitter demands. It does not matter whether they are right or wrong; what matters is they have all the power, and that power is being wielded by bots in a capricious and arbitrary manner.
Here’s what happened to me.
O O O
In late June 2020 one of the memes going around was to drink a glass of water one-handed. For example:
One hand pic.twitter.com/nrCOW27Yuk
— Henry Winkler (@hwinkler4real) June 22, 2020
You may need to read the responses to understand that this video makes fun of Donald Trump and his supposed disabilities, but it’s clear to me that everyone who saw it at the time understood that Winkler was making fun of Trump’s disabilities.
That is certainly what I thought he meant, which is why I responded by criticizing Winkler for making an Ablest joke.
This brings me to my first point:
1. Twitter enforces its rules unevenly.
Winkler’s tweet is still up, and yet my tweet where I rebuke him got my account locked by Twitter. (I did not think to save the tweet, sorry.) Clearly Twitter could not tell the difference between a tweet that broke the rules and one that complained about the earlier tweet.
I don’t know how locks usually happen, but I had to find out my account was locked by actually visiting Twitter. I was blocked from doing anything on the account, and offered two options. I could either file an appeal, or I could unlock my account by deleting the tweet.
Since I knew I hadn’t broken any rules, I filed an appeal. That was a terrible mistake, and I beg you not to follow in my footsteps.
This brings me to my second point:
2. Twitter does not follow its own internal processes.
While I was waiting for a response on my appeal, and while Twitter was still telling me I could unlock my account by deleting the tweet in question, Twitter suspended my account.
Again, I had to learn of this development by visiting the account. (For a company that facilitates communication, Twitter cannot communicate worth a damn.) One I saw the account had been suspended, I immediately deleted the tweet. After all, Twitter was still telling me that this would fix everything.
It did not.
After I learned my account had been suspended, I filed an additional appeal, and I reached out to Twitter several times. A month has passed and I still have not received a response. I have essentially given up on trying to get this fixed, and I have resolved myself to the fact that I will never get my account back.
I have also come to the conclusion that:
3. There are no humans involved in enforcing Twitter’s rules.
The next person at Twitter I interact with in this saga will be the first.
O O O
Folks, I got off relatively easy. I had a back up account I could switch to with little effort, so this whole incident is merely incredibly annoying.
You might not be so lucky. If Twitter takes down your business or professional account, it could be a fucking catastrophe. You cannot let that happen.
That is why I am warning you to just go along with Twitter’s demands. They have all the power, their bots behave erratically, and there’s no way for you to talk to a person.
When you find yourself in a situation similar to mine, your only option is to acquiesce. (Well, we could leave Twitter, but I for one need to be there for my job, which makes Twitter kinda like that abusive boss I can’t escape because I need the paycheck.)