How my twitter account was banned for no reason

I was a happy camper this afternoon, on a lazy sunny Sunday, trying to decide between a bicycle ride and wasting time on the 'net.

I fought the ‘net, I fought the ‘net, I really did, but the ‘Net won. I checked out this particular website and felt that it was not loading as fast as I would have liked. I decided to remove the twitter feed from the sidebar, as it is not terribly useful. But rather than remove it completely, I decided that, as a first step, I will simply reduce the 6 tweets displayed to only one. The code – taken from the official twitter widget – was:

<ul id="twitter_update_list"></ul>
<a id="twitter-link" style="display:block;text-align:right;" href="http://twitter.com/InBonobo”>follow me on Twitter</a>
<script src="http://twitter.com/javascripts/blogger.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src=http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/InBonobo.json?callback=twitterCallback2&amp;count=6 type="text/javascript"></script>

I changed 6 to 1, saved, and reloaded to page, only to get a login prompt in a pop-up for m.twitter.com – Yikes!?!???

20090705-twitter-mobileI then checked my account, only to find the dreaded “account suspended” page:

20090305-ContTwitterSuspendat-InConstantIn

(Image used with permission.)

I proceeded then to file a support ticket stating that I haven’t broken any rule and asking that my account is reinstated. Checking my account again, I was hit with “page does not exist”:

inbonobo does not exist!So I sent the following:

date    Sun, Jul 5, 2009 at 7:38 PM
subject    inbonobo account deleted?!?
mailed-by    gmail.com

    hide details 7:38 PM (59 minutes ago)    

Dear Madam or Sir,
Upon noticing today that my account was suspended without cause, I filed a ticket requesting that it is reinstated. I have not done anything against the rules or terms of service.
Shortly thereafter, when checking if the account had been reinstated, I noticed that now, instead of "this account was suspended" page, I was getting "this page does not exist'.
Has my account been deleted?!? Please explain.
Cheers,
http://inbonobo.com

All that’s left for me to do is post a request on GetSatisfaction, but it’s unlikely that anything will be done Chatterbox

It seems that my previous ticket has disappeared, being replaced by the email I had sent:

delbius investigates

For posterity, this is what my account used to look like:

inbonobo @ twitter = suspended!

As you can see, I once had 584 followers while following 545. ‘twas good while it lasted Dancing

Here’s what tweetlater had to say:

Sunday, July 5th, 2009: A lot of people with legitimate Twitter
accounts are currently suffering from having their accounts suspended
(late Sunday afternoon).

It is not TweetLater’s doing or fault. So, please do not submit a
TweetLater support request about it.

We just heard back from Twitter via email, and they said : “Spamcloud
hit. We’re working on restoring accounts.”

We just need to be patient. The suspended accounts will be restored.

Patience is one of my strongest gifts, but I’ve been using it all up in a totally different kind of hell..

  • Senator McCarthy, I’m not a commie!At wits end
  • Mr. Bush and dark eminence Cheney, I’m not a Muslim and I bathe in oil, just like you!Nailbiting
  • Mr. Obama, I’ll listen to all your speeches in their totality, just let me go home! Crying

UPDATE

The twspension was due to 4chan (wiki-4chan). Here’s what twitter had to say (twitter-note):

Earlier today, we accidentally suspended a number of accounts. We regret the human error that led to these mistaken suspensions and we are working to restore the affected accounts—we expect this to be completed in the next several hours.

One additional note: some the accounts suspended were using the third-party site Tweetlater. However, Tweetlater is not to blame for these suspensions nor is it in violation of our Terms.

I’m a heavy user of Tweetlater, as I program my tweets a few days in advance – this way, I don’t have to constantly use twitter, nor do I bombard my followers with 50 consecutive tweets at once, followed by a long silence. Away_Mission_GorillapenisThe root of all evil was the 4chan prank, Operation Shitter, announced on Insurgency w/i/k/i:

1. Create Twitter accounts
2. Post messaged including the #gorillapenis hashtag
3. Make #gorillapenis a Trending Topic on Twitter
4. ????
5. PROFIT

This scheme used most likely tweetlater, who was an innocent bystander, and twitter reacted by suspending all accounts that used tweetlater, including the legitimate ones.

Twitter blames human error, but it is more likely that some kind of scripting of the process caused all the hoopla, due to a faulty algorithm.

Sources / More info: inbonobo-cco, 4chan-v-twitter, wiki-4chan, mash-suspensions, twitter-note, c-net-#gorillapenis, insurgency-wiki, insurgency-wiki-forums, my twitter account, twitter support, twitter status, twitter request, known issues, suspended@getsatisfaction

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