About two months ago I opened Twitter to find a modal message announcing to me that my account had been suspended. I initially thought, that’s strange? Is this a bug? What could I possibly have done wrong? Twitter didn’t feel it was necessary to give me any details. I was in the dark.

I waited a few weeks. Naively thinking this issue would resolve itself—that it was just a mistake. I could still view tweets from people—although depending on which Twitter client I used I sometimes only saw the last tweets before my suspension took place.

Here are some of other things I’ve noticed about being suspended:

  • You cannot download your data.
  • The suspension modal will popup almost randomly when browing the site.
  • Notifications will stick. If someone tags you in a tweet (which is still possible) you’ll be stuck with this notification forever.
  • Follower and Following counts reset to zero.

Finally, I caved in and contacted Twitter support. According to their support website it would take 1-2 weeks for a response. I waited patiently. After three weeks I touched base as I thought my ticket was taking quite long to get a response. It was an additional 4 weeks before I finally received one.

Hello,

We’re writing to let you know that your account has been suspended—and will remain suspended—due to multiple or severe violations of our platform manipulation rules.

Please do not reply to this message as this email address is not monitored.

Thanks, Twitter

My heart sank a little. will remain suspended. severe violations. I’ve had this account for close to 10 years and there’s a lot of history and contacts that I no longer have access to.

After reading the platform manipulation rules I tried to put together what I had done wrong.

I believe because I retweet my side project’s tweets this must count as platform manipulation. To be honest, the thought of retweeting my other account as being against the ToS had not occurred to me. I only have myself to blame for not knowing this so I’m not angry about it. I do wish there was a warning system in place rather than going straight to permanent suspension, though.

My social media moving forward

Reflecting on this experience I think it’s more important than ever to control my data. Not just on Twitter but on all social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc should be a tool to share thoughts and experiences but not the soul source of them.

I have created a new Twitter account (@mitchartemis_v2) but I plan to be more purposeful with this one—to link to my own platforms, be it this blog or others.

Then there’s Mastodon which I want to use more of instead of Twitter. I currently have accounts on multiple Mastodon instances and to be honest, I’m not sure whether I should be focusing on using one account or sharing posts on individual nodes related to each of my interests. For example, posting my photography on photography.social, and my programming stuff on ruby.social. Unfortunately I feel this quandary is preventing me from posting anything at all.

That’s it for now. Just remember social media platforms control what happens with your data. If that data is important to you then make sure to have a back-up.