(Via Frostbox) Have you ever been suspended from Twitter? Joining the list of people whose accounts have been wiped out is easier than you think. Posting pornographic images and impersonating Justin Bieber are no longer the only reasons one can be suspended from Twitter.
Seems like the team in charge of Twitter’s suspension button has been a little trigger happy lately. It must be hard to try and establish which account is a pain in the ass and spamming the interwebs and which is genuinely passing on good content. Just like Facebook few years ago, Twitter got tougher and made some changes resulting in mayor clearing sprees.
What triggers their suspicion? What do we need to be aware of before we get suspended from Twitter for no apparent reason? Could you be nearing the dreaded wipe out? Something you may be doing right now could be digging your Twitter grave.
Here are some reasons that could be the end of your Twitterverse.
1. Are you a Spammer?
You may not consider your activity to be spamming, but there is a lot that hides under this short word mostly associated with slimming pills and viagra advertising. What constitutes “spamming” evolves as well, so something that used to be acceptable for a long time, may not necessarily be acceptable tomorrow.
You can get suspended from Twitter if your posts are constantly links and not personal updates. This can get worse if you send the same links to several people in a row asking them to RT your new post. Whether it’s begging for votes in a contest or even asking to support your cause or charity, it all falls under the spam category and can easily get you suspended from Twitter. Scratch this method of marketing off.
If you have been hacked and someone is sending those tweets from your account, contact Twitter support sooner rather than later.
You can also get suspended from Twitter for inappropriate use of hashtags. This also falls under the spamming category. I have noticed that for the first time during The Next Web conference in Amsterdam. All the attendees were actively live-tweeting everything and after first day, the porn creeped in between the conference updates, to completely take over the TNW hashtags by day two.
If you constantly want to get noticed by using one of the trending # to promote unrelated updates to a topic you will most likely be suspended.
Posting multiple duplicated updates on one account (or duplicated content over multiple accounts) can also get you suspended from Twitter.
Adding a large number of unrelated users to lists in an attempt to bring attention to an account, service or link will get you in trouble too.
Randomly or aggressively favoriting tweets, sending masses of @replies or mentions or retweeting accounts through automation in attempt to bring attention to yourself ..well will bring attention to you. Probably not the one you are after though. It will get one of Twitter’s spam detectors on your case and can also get you kicked out from the Twitterland.
This may come as a surprise, but you can be suspended if you repeatedly post other users’ account information as your own. This extends to tweets and urls, so if you are found to be stealing other people’s tweets on regular basis, you can be suspended.
Posting misleading links and spamming other users with irrelevant DMs (e.g. affiliate links, malware/click jacking pages, etc.) can get you suspended from Twitter.
2. Churning followers.
The fact you are interested in someone’s posts does not mean they will be interested in your. That’s the beauty of Twitter. No hard feelings. Except.. we want to be noticed AND followed. That’s when the churn happens. Some accounts will only follow people that follow them back. Some accounts who follow you will unfollow you and then.. yup, follow you back only to get your attention. They hope you will check their profile out again ( since it has appeared as a new follower in their account ) and maybe this time you will follow. This is not a great strategy when it comes to Twitter marketing and although there are many who got away with it, Twitter is coming after them one by one. If you happen to be doing just that: watch this space. You may soon be joining the Twitter graveyard.
3. Mass “unfollowing” or “following”.
Similar to “churning”, it’s basically unfollowing people who don’t follow you back. Except this time for good. If you happen to be doing this often and on a large space: you may bet suspended from Twitter.
It works both ways, too. If you start following way too many account without getting many followers in return, you may get slap on the hands. You need to keep a healthy ratio and following 30.000 people when only 5 follow you is not it. This is rarely a reason to suspend an account, but you will get warning.
4. Selling AND buying followers.
Happens to the best of us. Just ask Lady Gaga, who’s allegedly got 29 mln fake followers. There are programs now that can evaluate what percentage of your followers have been purchased or are inactive accounts.
Using or promoting third-party sites that claim to get you more followers (such as follower trains, sites promising “more followers fast,” or any other site that offers to automatically add followers to your account can get you suspended from Twitter.
5. Username squatting.
This is very frustrating, especially if you are at the receiving end. ( see: Frostbox )
Unless the squatter breaks another one of the points in Twitter TOS agreement, it’s hard to take them down and regain the access to your brand name or the desired Twitter handle.
There are people who create accounts to prevent others from using them. Sometimes they hope to sell those accounts further. Often they use feeds of third-party content to update and maintain accounts under the names of those third parties. All of this is frowned upon. It borders on Impersonation which high on the list of reasons why accounts get suspended from Twitter.
Accounts that are inactive for more than six months are also considered to be squatters.
6. Other obvious reasons you may get suspended from Twitter…
Pornography – whether it’s your profile pic, user background or posts: no pornography allowed. It’s not Tumblr.
Copyright infringement – just like everywhere else on the internet, if you are caught, you
go to jail may get your account suspended.
Misuse of Twitter Badges – photoshopping a “Verified” Twitter badge on to your background is funny, but absolutely against Twitter’s TOS. Don’t do it.
Violence and Threats – Bulling, direct threat and violence against others may get you banned straight away.
Trademark infringement – using trademarked logo as your profile image without the owner’s consent? Stop.
Last but not least: Publishing other people’s private and confidential information, such as credit card numbers, home address, Social Security / ID numbers, without their express authorisation and permission.
Twitter is a great medium for brands and marketers as well as all of us. The trick is to stick to their guidelines and no one gets hurt. If you are worried about losing your followers, tweets, direct messages or the curated group of people you follow, back them up to Frostbox and in case you happen to be the next victim of Twitter’s spring cleaning: you have your data safe.