The Red Text Rectangle of Death: What to do if your Twitter Account gets suspended
One of the things I love about social media is its accessibility anywhere you have a mobile device or computer with internet access. I manage social media sites for businesses, in addition to keeping up with my own sites. It’s nice being able to work/play from anywhere!
With this sunny outlook, I arose Sunday morning and checked in on Twitter. I love Twitter, and regard it as one of the most useful social media tools, which you already know if you read my last Blog post. Coffee in hand, I logged in, ready to do all the things Twitterholics and Social Media Managers love to do.
And there it was – and I admit to a bit of hyperbole here – what I now affectionately call the Red Text Rectangle of Death. This Twitter account had been SUSPENDED.
Friends, it gets better – this was a CLIENT account.
Oh. My. God.
Now, since I’m in this business, I’m well versed in Twitter Rules and Best Practices, as well as Twitter 101 for Business. I suggest you read these, too! Operating from this mindset, I couldn’t imagine that I’d done anything wrong. The form email received only listed possible reasons, such as: rules violations, being reported for spamming, number of others blocking account, etc. Still, as I reviewed both the rules and tweets again, I wondered: Was it POSSIBLE? One rule says you can get suspended if your tweets “consist mostly of links.” I felt this account had a good balance of updates with and without links. Then, I remembered an odd email earlier in the week requesting verification of an email change. The email hadn’t been changed, so I didn’t respond because the ‘from’ address didn’t look legit. I also didn’t click on the link provided, wary of where it might lead.
What to do? Step One was to visit the Suspended Accounts page. There, you I filed a ticket to appeal the suspension. Step Two was to inform the client immediately so that they heard the news, as well as recourse already under way, from me. I told them Twitter will sometimes do this as a precaution to investigate “strange activity,” and that I believed this to be either that, or an error, as happened to numerous accounts last summer. Lastly, I assured them this was just a temporary setback and that I get it resolved as quickly as possible.
So, why was the account suspended? According to Twitter, it got caught in a “spam cloud.” Apparently, a spammer sent quite a large number of unsolicited @username messages, which included this account. Since Twitter tends to take a “shoot first, investigate later” approach to spam control, they suspended all accounts messaged. Ouch.
What exactly is a spam cloud? After considerable googling, the best definition I have is the scenario I described above. If anyone out there has a better one, I’d love to hear it.
I’m happy to report the account has been fully restored, and in just over 24 hours! Big shout out to Twitter for their rapid response – rightly so, since the error was theirs. Whew! Never have I made a happier client call than that one! I also recommend becoming a follower of these verified Twitter accounts: @spam, @twitter, @safety, and @support. These keep you up-to-date on all things Twitter, and are an easy means for reporting spammers and problems such as missing tweets, a current issue. One final point: Do an account check of your followers and those you follow. If you see a Twitter account with a long succession of @username updates only, they are probably spammers. Block them. Likewise, accounts that are not well known names such as brands, news orgs, or celebs, where the number of those being followed vastly exceeds number of followers, should also be avoided. They’re likely spammers, too.
Have any of you ever dealt with this issue for your personal, business, or client accounts?
I’d love to hear your stories, as well as insights I may not have thought about.