Five not-so-obvious reasons you might lose your Twitter account

Five not-so-obvious reasons you might lose your Twitter account

…(and how to prevent it)

We’ve previously covered a short list of underrated reasons you might see your LinkedIn account restricted or terminated.

LinkedIn is solely aimed to professionals while Twitter reaches a younger demographic as well.

This accounts for the many differences between their respective Terms of Service, the style of the former holding strong resemblances to your run-of-the-mill legal contract while the latter is less formal, nonetheless still binding to your obligations.

 

Some things about Twitter

 The first thing we notice is that the list of Do and Don’t for the user is not embedded in TOS (apart from the last paragraph of “Restrictions on Content and Use of the Services” section about some technical actions that would rank as “hacking” under any circumstance)  but linked at one point in its body, same goes for the set of rules the developers using Twitter API must comply with, one more reason you may have missed them.

Spam-related breaches seem the biggest concern to this platform, what you may not expect is how Twitter links some apparently licit activities to spam and takes action accordingly:

 

1) “Accounts that are inactive for more than 6 months may also be removed without further notice”

You didn’t see it coming? Twitter associates inactive accounts with “user name squatting” a.k.a. “namesquatting” practices, where large amounts of usernames are reserved by individuals for cybersquatting purposes.

Closing inactive accounts will set these user names free for newcomers and legitimate brand-owners. Posting a tweet at least once every 180 days will be enough to cope with this.

 

2) “If you have followed a large amount of users in a short amount of time”

Here we cross the border with common practices to attract attention from potential back-followers, especially if you’re a beginner struggling to get noticed by others.

Still this may flag you as a spambot or otherwise “aggressive” user: set up a reasonable daily limit of follows and keep yourself below such a threshold.

 

3) “If you repeatedly follow and unfollow people, whether to build followers or to garner more attention for your profile”

More of the same with regard to point 2, the main difference here is that following and then unfollowing people just to broaden your audience is also considered a breach of netiquette.

Think twice before following someone, i.e.: you’re truly interested in his/her contents, and unfollow only if such a person doesn’t deserve it any more (poor content, spam, too many daily tweets, etc.).

 

4) “If you have a small number of followers compared to the amount of people you are following”

This is yet another race condition Twitter may see you as a spammer, several others have to be satisfied of course, else there would be very few users left around.

The platform itself puts the cap of users you can follow at 2,000 by default unless you manage to gather a proportional number of followers, once you manage to break past this limit the cap is raised but still present and you will have to keep attracting followers if you want to progress farther.

 

5) “Mass account creation may result in suspension of all related accounts”

Twitter limits you to one account for every email address you use to login, there several ways to circumvent this (e.g.: Gmail aliases, to name one) but since mass creation is a favourite tool for spammers you should be very careful as to how many of them you create and manage.

Let your common sense be your guide in this.

 

Finalwords: First edition of Twitter Terms of Service was inspired by Flickr (with permission, as stated here), it soon evolved to the current stage and stood pretty much the same over the last three years with fight against spam always in the bullseye.

Therefore the best practice is to keep your daily activities within reasonable boundaries even if the addictive nature of the service easily leads you to break them.

Fabrizio Bartoloni (Spoleto, Italy) works in Mobile software consulting and localisation, IT journalism and PR. He writes for Gulli.com (German) and PuntoInformatico (Italian).