I was browsing Twitter recently when I happened to come across a whole bunch of people talking about the same thing – three different large accounts (in the vape industry) had been suspended. At first, it looked as if those three big accounts had blocked everyone. After a while, that screen was replaced with one that stated the account had been suspended for violating Twitter rules.
Ladies and gentlemen, life is about to get bumpy.
I looked into this. I mean, I really looked into this. I’d rather not violate the rules by accident, obviously. So I started trawling the internet to see why this was happening. It wasn’t all that obvious why they’d been hit, and plenty of other accounts, too. The accounts weren’t offensive or anything like that, but it seems that something they had done went against the Twitter rules.
THIS IS WHAT I FOUND –
Twitter is currently undergoing a MASSIVE crackdown where certain Tweets are being removed or certain accounts are faced with suspension. From the looks of things, the suspension is for a set period of time – a few hours usually – and it tells you how long when you get the email that tells you about your naughtiness.
Why is Twitter suspending some accounts?
To start with, Twitter was removing stuff surrounding violence and self-harm. It seems as though the platform is using some kind of system where certain whole Tweets or words/phrases are being flagged up. That’s all good and well when the tweet is actually talking about self-harm or violence, but because this is very clearly a computer-generated thing and not a person picking out dodgy tweets, the actual context of the tweet isn’t being taken into account. At all.
An example of a deleted tweet because of misunderstood context:
“I’ve just bought the new Anastasia Beverly Hills palette. Someone kill me now! I’m in heaven already!”
Because you are discussing the idea of ‘killing yourself’ or someone ‘killing you’ there’s a chance that Twitter’s crappy program will pick up on it and remove it, potentially suspending your account at the same time.
It’s been taken out of context. Yes, you are talking about ‘killing yourself’, but not in a literal way. Sadly, Twitter doesn’t understand that. It doesn’t really understand the context of tweets very well.
It’s definitely time to start REALLY thinking about the kind of stuff you’re tweeting. If it involves any form of violence or self-harm, even in a totally non-literal way, there’s a good chance you’re about to get Twitter-busted, AKA suspended.
That’s cool though, right? You’ll just stop posting that kind of stuff in future. That’ll sort the problem out …
Twitter’s crazy little computer is going back through old Tweets too … Like, really old. Super old. So old, you probably won’t even remember they’re there. You would need to go back through your ENTIRE Twitter history to make sure there were no traces of anything remotely offensive.
** Some people have also pointed out the irony of suspending someone and blocking them from contacting or engaging with other people when they are sharing/experiencing thoughts of self-harm. If someone were SERIOUSLY putting their thoughts of self-harm out there in the hope that the rest of the Twitter-community could talk them down from the ledge (so to speak), Twitter would have just taken that lifeline away from them. In some cases, Twitter is the only interaction that people have. It feels like this action might just be a little counterproductive.
Any kind of abusive, hateful or discriminatory Tweets will land you in hot water – and quite rightfully so. However, once again, Twitter does appear to take certain Tweets out of context.
“You look so gorgeous, I just hate you! I actually hate you.”
That’s a compliment. We all know that. But the wording used in that compliment is enough to tweak Twitter’s slightly anxious system. If someone reports that Tweet (and you know you’re always going to have some probably undeserved enemies online), Twitter can take action.
You can find more information on the ‘Twitter Rules’ here > https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/twitter-rules
(And I honestly suggest you read them if you haven’t already!)
If you’re posting the same Tweets over and over again, Twitter might hit you with a suspension. They class this behaviour as spam. You might get away with a few that are the same, scheduled using a social media scheduling tool, for example, but repeatedly sharing the same Tweets over and over again will land you in hot Twitter water before long.
While we’re on the subject of spam, Twitter counts a lot of things as spam:
- Lots of Tweets with links but very little text
- Lots of DM’s (Direct Messages) with links but very little text
- Following lots of accounts in quick succession or in a short timeframe
- Unfollowing lots of accounts in quick succession or in a short timeframe
- Lots of reports against you/your account
- Lots of blocks against you/your account (particularly if they ‘spam report’ you too)
- Having multiple/duplicate accounts that are the same
- Regularly using popular or trending topics/hashtags but tweeting about something entirely unrelated
- “Aggressive list building” – adding lots of other Twitter users (and hashtags) in a ‘follow train’ fashion
- Engaging with people for seemingly no reason and on entirely unrelated subjects, in a bid to drive traffic to YOUR Twitter from theirs (An example: me, talking about vaping, tagging Kim Kardashian in it every time I tweet for a week)
- Using other people’s information and pretending it’s your own (An example: building a Kim Kardashian page and pretending you’re ACTUALLY her)
- Fake accounts (just in case you were thinking of creating one to spy on your fella – Twitter will actually suspend or delete accounts that aren’t used, or are used for seemingly stalker-only reasons)
- Adding misleading links to your tweet (An example: posting an affiliate link and NOT disclosing it)
- Adding a malicious link to your tweets (An example: malware-style links)
This isn’t even all of it – there are SO MANY Twitter Rules. Many of us are breaking them by accident. Some accounts do a #FF or #FollowFriday, but by “aggressively” adding other people’s usernames (as in, adding lots of them, without permission, etc.) could actually be breaking the Twitter Rules.
I do these #FF’s sometimes. Now I wonder how “allowed” they are.
I have actually talked about this a little before. Buying followers on Twitter (and every other social platform) is a VERY bad idea. Why? Because it makes you look like you can’t do whatever you’re trying to do properly (fake followers are usually obvious). It also actually goes against the T&C’s for most social sites.
Twitter states that any attempt to buy, sell, or “artificially inflate” any of your engagement on Twitter, including likes, retweets, followers, etc. goes against the “Twitter Rules”.
It also goes against the “Twitter Rules” to use apps and other third-party websites, etc. to inflate any of your engagement – likes, retweets, etc.
— UKWordGirl (@ukwordgirl) 7 January 2019
I would imagine this one is going to hit a few people like a ton of bricks. You can be suspended if you use any copyrighted material in your tweets, which includes music, snippets of movies and TV shows, etc. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, also known as the DMCA, essentially states that if someone reports an account for copyright, Twitter must look into it and act accordingly. There are allowances for fan accounts and parody accounts or for retweeting/sharing someone’s stuff WITH credit (fair usage), but outright stealing someone’s stuff is not on and Twitter won’t allow it.
If you use someone else’s photo without their consent and without giving them credit for it, you’re “stealing” the image. The photographer has the copyright of an image, not the person in the image. If the photographer takes a photo of a well-known chocolate bar or vape juice, that photo belongs to the photographer, not the company behind the well-known chocolate bar or vape juice.
HOWEVER – I *have* seen incidences where entire vape Instagram accounts have been shut down to copyright complaints. A vape device was sent out to reviewers. Those reviewers wrote about the device, took photos of it, and shared some of those photos to social media. The company behind the device then started copyright complaints against the reviewers for putting the photos up on Instagram. For a brief spell, the reviewer accounts were actually shut down, but I think things have been resolved since that point, with all accounts reinstated.
If someone reports your account for copyright infringement, Twitter (or any other social media platform) will investigate. It’s the law. If you are found to be guilty, Twitter will act accordingly. Just like right now – they’re suspending/punishing accounts that share or have shared copyrighted content. If you keep doing it and Twitter keeps serving you with those take-down notices, you’ll be suspended for longer and longer periods of time. In the end, they’ll just delete your account entirely.
(It’s not like they didn’t warn you multiple times.)
Don’t use anyone else’s trademark as your own.
Don’t design a logo that is visually similar to an already existing logo, with a similar name. I see this a lot in the vape world – eliquids that are produced and designed to look and taste EXACTLY like a Snickers bar (for example). When Snickers find out about it, they’re gonna be mad … (There’s also probably going to be a lawsuit somewhere and the vape people are going to be screwed.)
There is A LOT going down in the social media world right now, and just when you thought you’d gotten the hang of the Instagram changes, Twitter goes and drops a whole bunch of bombshells into the mix. I haven’t freaked out about it. Yet. There’s a good chance I’ll be suspended on at least one of the accounts. My sense of humour can be described as warped at best, and I would imagine there are a few things that Twitter’s misunderstanding computer will pick up on when it gets rolling.
I’ll keep you updated, of course.
At the very least, I’ll see it all as an experiment and write my experiences down for the blog.
This is not a complete list of all the reasons why Twitter is having a temper tantrum right now, or why it may have further temper tantrums. I recommend that you have a good look through the Twitter Rules. I know it seems like a lot of mumbo jumbo, but if you don’t know the rules, you can’t make sure you’re not breaking them.
If you have been suspended for a reason I HAVE or HAVEN’T listed above, please feel free to share your experiences in the space for comments below. I’m interested to learn how long you were suspended for, why, and how bloomin’ annoyed you were because of it! (Twitter doesn’t listen, someone’s gotta!)
I hope this helps you, although, if you’re already reading this, I imagine you’ve already been hit with the dreaded Twitter suspension. Hang in there. It’ll soon be over. Just think of it as a learning exercise.