Stay active long enough on the Twitter microblogging service and you'll see followers who appear out of the blue and disappear equally quickly, complete and public meltdowns, accounts that make fun of leaders and legends, and a soup-to-nuts continuum of unexpected behavior. When you read the Twitter Rules -- as every subscriber should -- you discover a succinct list of actions that can result in account suspension. How and if you regain access depends on why Twitter suspended your account.
Don't Follow Me That Way
Twitter expects you to earn followers, not buy them. The Internet abounds with services that promise to swell the ranks of your admirers through the equivalent of get-rich-quick schemes, all of which violate Twitter's rules. Most of the followers these services add consist of zombie accounts abandoned by their owners, spammer bots and identities that won't read a word you tweet. Unfortunately, the only shortcut to overnight Twitter prominence lies in becoming the next viral sensation. If Twitter's site-monitoring features catch you taking the buy-a-crowd approach, you may find a suspension notice waiting among your email messages and a nag banner swathed across the top of your timeline when you log in to the service. To regain your account privileges, you must dump the follower automation.
Twitter places no limits on the number of followers you have, provided that you acquire them the right way, but the service does regulate how you follow other people. You can follow 2,000 accounts, but above that total you run into an unpublished limit that imposes a follower-to-following ratio. Some users attempt to draw attention to themselves by following and unfollowing long lists of accounts in short periods of time. Twitter calls this practice "follower churn" and bans it in its official rules, both to head off spammers and to reduce meaningless site activity. You'll have to contact Twitter, make a sincere promise to follow the rules and keep your promise if you want to regain and keep access to your account.
Twitter encourages free speech, including the creation of accounts that honor or poke fun at famous people. Although the service leaves room for clearly labeled tributes and critiques that no one would mistake for the official communications of the person they lampoon, it bans misleading accounts that look official. It also enforces trademark and copyright holders' control of their logos and other intellectual property. If you create an account to honor or parody a famous person, you must set up an avatar, account name and bio that clearly distinguish it from an official Twitter feed. Failure to do so can result in suspension that only revising the account can lift. If a rights holder reports you for impersonation or infringement, Twitter may suspend your account until you remove logos or other material that aren't your property. Along with regulating abuse of trademarks and copyrights, Twitter also bans sexually explicit avatars and post photos, which are favorites of spammers who try to use the service to boost traffic for X-rated websites.
You'll see some salty language and provocative behavior on Twitter, but the service makes a distinction between acting out and being abusive. Violent threats, bullying, hate speech, outing private information and other infringements can result in warnings, account suspensions and even reports to law enforcements. Twitter won't suspend you for expressing frustration, but if you display a continued pattern of questionable behavior directed at other users, your activity may earn you a suspension. First-time offenders may regain account access, but their activities will face greater scrutiny for signs of recurrent misbehavior.
- Twitter Help Center: My Account Is Suspended
- Twitter Help Center: Rules and Best Practices
- Twitter Help Center: Following Rules and Best Practices
- Twitter Help Center: How to Report Violations
- Twitter Help Center: Online Abuse
- Twitter Help Center: Reporting Private Information Posted on Twitter
- Twitter Help Center: Reporting Abusive Behavior
- Twitter Help Center: Reporting a Tweet for Violations
- Twitter Help Center: Parody, Commentary, and Fan Account Policy
- Twitter Help Center: Reporting Impersonation Accounts
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