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Why Is Twitter Locking Out Thousands of Legitimate Users?

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Updated 10/23/17 – We’re in day four of the #TwitterLocked situation, with more and more users coming forward with similar tales…

Original Story: It began on Friday, October 20th – hot on the heels of an announcement that Twitter had unveiled a new timeline for its efforts to combat online trolls, bots and stifle abuse on their platform. Unsuspecting users – potentially thousands of them – woke up to find their accounts locked out for “exhibiting automated behavior that violates the twitter rules.” After resetting via a code on the app, they would immediately be locked out again, at which time twitter would make an automated phone call to provide another code. Once the account was unlocked, users reported losing some of their followers, but more concerning – they had lost the complete list of who they were following… a complete reset to zero. Most of the users affected did not appear to be breaking any rules, nor were they posting any offensive materials. Many of those who found their accounts locked were bloggers and members of the media. I know about this first-hand, as I was one of them.

Locked Out of Twitter?

In the past 36 hours or so, I’ve been locked out and reinstated three times. My password has been requested every few minutes while using the iOS app, and I’ve seen my “following” count go to zero each time, later reflecting the proper number of accounts I follow (around 3,600). Tweets to both @Twitter and @TwitterSupport have gone unanswered, and a search of “twitter locked” reveals users around the Globe having issue. A check of twitter followers using the Crowdfire App shows a mass unfollowing, but each user clicked shows that they, too are also locked out for “unusual activity,” resulting in a perceived “unfollow.”

So what is going on?

Thus far, no one seems to be reporting on this issue, and Twitter themselves have maintained radio silence. Where much conversation has moved is onto Facebook, with many speaking out against the lockout through their pages, private groups and messenger threads.

Some finger-pointing has begun toward third-party apps like Roundteam, dlvrit, Hootsuite and Buffer. These apps are often used by members of the media, bloggers and outlets large and small to automate tweets and to share news and headlines. This is permitted according to the Twitter rules, and they even have an “Automation Best Practices” page.

Right now there’s no word on whether this is a massive glitch in the system, some kind of automated clean-up that’s gone off the rails, or if there’s been a change to the rules that users and app developers weren’t aware of.

I’ve reached out to Twitter and am still awaiting response. This article will be updated as news comes in. Stay tuned…

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