Twitter’s defective account suspension ‘system’

I’ve registered a whole bunch of Twitter accounts over the years for a variety of purposes. Recently two of these accounts were suspended by Twitter, and the process of what (didn’t) happen as a result requires a little bit more analysis. Both were suspended in late March 2015, and I contacted Twitter to appeal the suspensions shortly thereafter.

The accounts in question are @BienkowskaEU
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and @EFDDgroup
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I presume it was someone working for Bienkowska who requested the suspension of @BienkowskaEU as @EBienkowskaEU was launched a few days later. I’d contacted both the social media folks at DG Comm, and Bienkowska’s spokesperson, to inform them that I owned the account and was happy to hand it over to them for free (just as I had done with @TimmermansEU) but someone in the Commission decided to request Twitter shut down my account and lose its 800 followers instead. The biography of the account made it clear I was behind it.

The @EFDDgroup one was more subversive, and it was not clear that I had registered the account. The account uses a similar logo and colour scheme to the EFDD Group in the European Parliament, but – really – who thinks that “The Europe of Fruitcakes and Daft Demagogues” is actually the real group? Anyway, someone in the group in the EP complained and got it suspended.

In both cases Twitter sent no e-mail informing me of the suspension in the first place, and its reasons, nor did Twitter even bother to reply the first time I attempted to appeal both suspensions. The second time, a month later, I received identical copy-paste e-mails like this:

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E-mails to Twitter’s support stating that the @EFDDgroup account is clearly a parody account (and impersonation does not apply) have all gone unanswered. @BienkowskaEU more clearly falls foul of the rule, but there too all e-mails to Twitter’s support have gone unanswered.

Luckily I don’t actually really need either of these accounts. But were the accounts actually to be useful for something – a parody to undermine a large company (that happens to have advertising contracts with Twitter) for example – would Twitter simply behave in the same way?

I of course understand why Twitter has rules for the use of its network, but swift, fair and efficient processing of appeals and complaints has to be part of this process. My experience with these two accounts seems to demonstrate that the process is very fair from being swift, transparent and efficient.

[UPDATE 27.5.2015, 1225 – text in the Commission paragraph above amended for clarity, as I do not know who in the Commission requested the suspension of the account. But I am pretty damned sure someone did.]

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