Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with fresh information.
In the past few months, we’ve seen quite a few cases of people saying that their Twitter account is locked or limited.
We first started seeing an influx of people experiencing the lockout issue soon after Twitter disclosed that around 32 million passwords were hacked in the summer of 2016.
What this meant was that Twitter was requiring users to log in, change their password, and then reauthorize all of the apps connected to their Twitter account. This type of lock out seemed to happen at random times. It seems that in an attempt to protect user security, Twitter has ramped up its “suspicious behavior” filters.
To help Socedo users avoid this problem and to make sure that Socedo was not causing this lockout, we investigated this problem and here’s what we’ve learned.
The lockout is caused by Twitter’s automated policy engine which is taking into account several factors at once, including:
- The login behavior of your account, including the devices you’re using to log into Twitter, the locations or IP addresses from which you are logging in and whether you’re using a VPN. Your login behavior is considered more risky by Twitter if you are logging in from multiple devices, multiple IP addresses or if you’re using a VPN.
- Your security settings. If you haven’t set up appropriate security settings (for example, a backup email & phone number), Twitter will consider your more risky.
- How your account is following users. If your account is suddenly following a lot of users within a very short period of time, Twitter may consider that to be suspicious behavior. As a part of this investigation, we looked into whether Twitter treats follows the same way whether someone follows users through a connected app (such as Socedo) versus following users manually. It appears that Twitter treats both types of follow actions the same way.
What Socedo is doing to address this problem
For those of you who don’t know Socedo, it’s a SaaS platform that helps you discover, engage and qualify new leads on Twitter. The system can automatically discover potential leads on Twitter based on specific keywords in their profiles and tweets, follow these people on your behalf and send direct messages to the people who follow you back.
You can sign up for our free trial at any point if you want to give it a try.
To understand what Socedo is doing to prevent the problem, you have to know a few things about how Socedo works. Socedo operates completely within the Twitter’s Terms of Service and its Developer Agreement.
Specifically, we comply with Twitter’s rule that a human has to initiate every workflow (e.g. follow a user, send a direct message). This is why Socedo asks you to either manually approve the leads in your prospect pool or to utilize our Managed Services to have our team approve leads on your behalf.
However, after the human initiates the action, it’s up to our system to carry out the workflow. Our system does not necessarily follow a user right away. Instead, it tries to find an optimal time to follow the person you approved. This means that at certain times, the queue of users that our system need to “follow” becomes larger than expected. If you were locked out and we could not access your account, once we get access to your account (when you reconnect your account), our system follows this larger than normal queue of users in a rush. This could potentially trigger Twitter’s suspicious behaviors filter and lock out the account.
To prevent this, we’ve built several safeguards. Our system will now rate-limit your account from following too many people all at once, even if you’ve approved them. We’re going to try to find the optimal time to follow these people, even right after a big rush of approvals, or when a backlog exists.
How you can solve the issue now
Before you unlock your account:
- Visit this page to submit a form to appeal an account suspension or a locked account. Log in as the Twitter handle that is locked.
- Write the following message in the “Description of the Problem” section
- I was attempting to connect with people on Twitter for business purposes, but it looks like I have been locked out multiple times. I have a human initiate all actions, but am unsure why I am being locked out. Can you let me know what to do to prevent this in the future?
- After you’ve submitted your request, you’ll want to change your password and unlock your account.
If you do not hear a response within 48 hours, follow these steps:
- Contact twitter with this issue: tweet out to @Support or send them a DM with the following message: “How can I tell what sort of automated activity is being generated?” Do not bother calling them or emailing them, as they don’t have any support structure set up along those lines.
- You want to tweet the following question to them: “I have been locked out of Twitter multiple times and am unsure why. I do use some Twitter apps that follow your rules of engagement; if this is the reason why I’m getting locked out, can you provide me the specific violator?”
- If they cannot tell you the specific violator, respond this way: “Then how can I tell what I need to do to fix this problem?”
- If they say that Twitter apps are not the issue, ask them: “If my twitter apps aren’t the root cause for me being locked out, what is? Can you shed some light on that?”
As always, you can email us with any question, or tweet at us @Socedo.
Or if you want to find an quick and easy way to connect with relevant audiences on Twitter and get new leads to grow your database, you can sign up for our 7-day free trial.