Twitter Account Suspensions

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.

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67 thoughts on “Twitter Account Suspensions

  1. MartyAnne

    To: Dewald Pretorius, Owner of TweetLater.com I want to send you a big thanks for keeping us posted on this nightmare of the Twitter Account Suspensions. I know your informative posts really calmed me down and I would say alot of others feel the same way. Thanks Dewald!!

  2. klankford

    Oh wow! So that's the deal. I was really bummed out yesterday when I got the notice. Then today, it was un-suspended and I thought it was the computer at work that caused the activity. I never once doubted tweetlater though. I really apprciate this forum.

  3. Dewald Pretorius

    Twitter has a large infrastructure with many servers that replicate data for performance reasons.I guess it takes a while for the account restores to filter through the entire Twitter system. In other words, it may take several hours, or maybe days, until all the parts of the Twitter system know that your suspended account has been restored.To be on the safe side, submit a support ticket at http://help.twitter.com and ask them why your tweets are not showing up in Search.

  4. Rod Harlan

    Than you Dewald Pretorius for all you do! This is a terrific service and I appreciate all you did to keep us informed as things were unfolding. Great customer service!Thanks again,Rod

  5. Joe

    Wow people love pointing the finger! Didn't even start to blame anyone when my account got suspended temporarily, just twitter… and a big sad face. TweetLater is great because they actually gave us an update of the situation, and for that – thank you!

  6. ronkrause

    Most people seem to over react to anything that affects them directly or indirectly without investigating. Our world has changed to a want it now mind set that seems more self centered than it used to be. I did contact twitter and wondered about the effects of tweetlater if any. So I contacted other twitter account holders and found that in my opinion that twitter was just having another growing pain. I expect more and will just roll with it if we want the world to be PERFECT we better all leave now. Have a Great Day

  7. Alban

    I'm still suspended, I don't know what to do to get back, I was using using tweetlater, and loved the service (still do actually) but in a very normal way, like for one or two automated tweets a day.My twitter account was within twitter rules, I was giving English vocabulary every day to French twitter users, they liked the service.I don't know what to do to get back my twitter account, any help would be greatly appreciated.Alban @anglaiscours

  8. howdydesa

    It pains me to hear about all your customers that, in their panic, jumped to the worst possible conclusion about your service here at TweetLater.God knows I hate getting spammed to death on Twitter myself, and take great pleasure in getting to have real communications with people from all over the world. So I appreciate that you take so obvious an interest in sharing with people how to use your service as a tool to enhance our service and intelligently, efficiently increase our sales…but to remember there are REAL people on Twitter who deserve our respect and personal attention. Not just me, me, me tweets every 3 minutes from TweetLater.I am SO GRATEFUL for the features of TweetLater and look forward to a long partnership. You KNOW when you're a TweetLater spammer, so you shouldn't be surprised when Twitter shuts down your account. But if you are using TweetLater as prescribed to SUPPLEMENT your personal attention and personal tweets, then you should trust that Twitter will sort things out for you in the end after they've tried to shotgun those pesky spammers.

  9. ajrichards

    I think I may have some suspension issues, can someone find out, I am a rookie at all this…100% disabled Vietnam Vet

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