Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Twitter locked me out of my account, Here's what I did and how you can learn from my naivety.



Have you got up one morning, looked at your mobile device only to find out your Twitter account has been locked? You wonder, what am I missing? For the first time in seven years on Twitter, I got my account booted from the platform for a purported rules violation. It hasn't been twenty- four hours yet and it feels like jail already. I remember my last tweet was a reply to a friend's tweet related to a programming meme. I was not threatening the president of my country or anyone else. I am not a bot and I tweet like any other user that interacts on the platform. I definitely did not violate any of Twitter's rules. 

Well, the social media giant has been suspending accounts of people who joined Twitter below the age 13 -- WhatsApp also banned millions of accounts last year. Even though you are older now, it doesn't really make a difference. They are doing same to many more. I created my Twitter account when I was eleven years old. It was like the golden age back then but what I didn't predict is my imminent downfall. Twitter rules back then still stated you must be at least be 13 years old to own a Twitter account, which is a decent effort (from the COPPA Law).  As a naive kid, I lied about my age then. The company took zero action to the number of users that lied as well. How do you make a law with over 99% of the people breaking? Maybe it's fair to say it's a crappy law. I'm not criticizing Twitter here because all they are doing is complying with a law.

The issue here is COPPA is not really a law, it's a protection for children. After the EU implemented its own version of the COPPA called the GDPR or the General Data Protection Regulation, Twitter was forced to comply otherwise they get fined with huge sums of money. Poor Twitter has gone crazy strict in locking users out of their accounts in the attempt to change their birthdays ever since. This has been incredibly frustrating for many, now adults. At least there should have been some warning before suspending these accounts.


Would I get my account back?

I was asked to fill a form to confirm my identity and my age. The support account stated that my account was under review and they would get back to me. I do not know how long this would take but I repeatedly check my e-mail to see if I get any news on my status. Scheduling your tweets is the most efficient way to maximize your Twitter reach with minimal investment. I have heard friends complain about how they got their accounts locked for using third-party apps like TweetDeck that could be flagged as spam. There is also no need to log in to multiple devices. In other to avoid losing your account temporarily, you should not be doing of these activities as they can also get you in trouble.


What to do when Twitter suspends your account

1. Do not panic, remember it can happen to everyone.
2. If your account gets suspended for the first time, use the call me feature (this is new but could be handy).
3. After that you have to contact them through their Support, at Twitter Support.


What else you can do after you get your account

Even though I am yet to get access to my account (as at the time of writing this post),  there are some precautionary methods I recommend whether you've had your account locked or not.

1. Do not tweet all the same stuff on any multiple Twitter accounts you may use.
2. Follow Twitter rules which are at least 30 .
3. Read best practices for following and using Twitter.

I haven't been on Twitter for almost 24 hours, something that has not happened since 2013. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, do not panic. Being in Twitter jail can give your more time elsewhere. I think I have learned a lot while being blocked from Twitter. Oh I and I'm never editing my birthday again.
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I finally got my account

I got an e-mail stating that my form was reviewed. I finally got control over my locked account. The only rule I violated was the Twitter age rule as such I was eligible to get back my account. When I logged in to the account, I saw a "Get Started" button and proceeded with the steps. 


However, Twitter asked for permission to delete any tweets posted before the age of 13, as well as my likes, conversations and other collection. My profile information was also removed. I was able to reclaim my username, not the content.




The account isn't unlocked right after these steps are completed. My following and follower's number were set to zero. It took sometime for it to get back. 

The good thing is it didn't take a year for me to recover my account.

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