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.
Update: We have no idea exactly what a “spam cloud” means. It is probably Twitter staff lingo for a massive spam attack.
Update: We have seen during previous spam attacks that Twitter tends to shoot first and ask questions later and indiscriminately lay down carpet bombing when their system comes under a spam attack. A lot of innocent-bystander accounts get massacred in the process, which they then have to restore afterwards. This is most likely what has happened again.
Update: We have no idea how long it will take Twitter to restore the wrongly suspended accounts. We do not have insight into that information.
Update: Twitter has now posted an update about the suspensions on their status blog.
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.
Update: It appears that the issue has now been resolved and most suspended accounts have been restored. If your account is still suspended, please submit a support request at http://help.twitter.com and ask them to look at your account.
Post-Mortem by Dewald Pretorius, Owner of TweetLater.com
It is a real pity, but probably unavoidable, that some people have a tendency to jump to premature conclusions. A lot of folks almost immediately blamed TweetLater for the suspensions, and some even canceled their TweetLater accounts.
The reason why many TweetLater users were affected was very simple. We service a very large number of Twitter accounts. At time of writing that number exceeded 100,000 Twitter accounts. If Twitter makes a mistake that affects a large number of accounts, then naturally a large number of TweetLater users will be affected by the mistake.
I work very hard to maintain an excellent working relationship with Alex Payne, Matt Sanford, and Doug Williams of the Twitter API team, and with Del Harvey of the Twitter Spam team. They are always very responsive, professional, and helpful whenever I approach them.
And, I work equally hard to ensure, with the help and advice of the Twitter folks mentioned above, that TweetLater features always remain within the Twitter Terms and never does anything that Twitter frowns upon. TweetLater is my bread and butter, the thing that pays my mortgage. Hence, being a good neighbor of Twitter is absolutely essential, no, it is absolutely non-negotiable to me. I regularly turn down feature requests and offers of large additional payments for some new features, which I know will not sit well with Twitter and potentially jeopardize my service’s standing with Twitter.
The lesson from this is as follows: Things are often much simpler and far more benign than what some people want to believe. Perhaps it’s because conspiracy theories are more interesting, or more sensational, that people want to believe them rather than just the simple mundane truth. I don’t know.
It’s just very frustrating to watch your service, your passion, come under attack when you have done nothing wrong.
Nevertheless, there is also an upside to this matter, and I will conclude with it and close this post on a positive note.
This issue has created an enormous amount of free publicity for TweetLater, which makes me very happy.