Twitter Account Locked

Update: After more than three weeks, my account was unlocked.

A few days ago, National Weather Service Portland tweeted:

I replied:

@NWSPortland Don’t forget graupel! BTW, I caught something frozen falling this afternoon in downtown.

I also included a video of frozen precipitation bouncing off of a window ledge downtown. Now, if you don’t know:

Graupel (/ˈɡraʊpəl/; German: [ˈɡʁaʊpl̩]), also called soft hail, hominy snow, or snow pellets, is precipitation that forms when supercooled water droplets in air are collected and freeze on falling snowflakes, forming 2–5 mm (0.08–0.20 in) balls of crisp, opaque rime.


Nevertheless, later in the day I got an email from Twitter:

Hi Weston Ruter, Your account, @westonruter has been locked for violating the Twitter Rules. 

Specifically for: (blank)

Please note that repeated violations may lead to a permanent suspension of your account. Proceed to Twitter now to fix the issue with your account.

My account was locked specifically for… what? The space is blank. So I went to Twitter and I was greeted with:

Screenshot with heading "Delete Tweet"

Tweet 1 of 1, violating one of our Rules.

Cited tweet: @NWSPortland Don't forget graupel! BTW, I caught something frozen falling this afternoon in downtown.

Then instructions: By clicking delete, you acknowledge that your Tweet violated the Twitter Rules.

Then appears a Delete button.

Finally this text: If you feel that your account has been locked in error, you can appeal by contacting our support team here.

Huh? How does this violate Twitter’s rules? So naturally I proceeded to appeal:

Screenshot of the form to appeal a locked or suspended account. 

Instructions: Fill out the form below to appeal your account being locked, suspended, or having certain features limited on Twitter. If you are attempting to submit for other Twitter support options, you'll need to appeal your account restriction first.

I wrote the description of the problem as follows: 

I tweeted nothing that violated the rules. I was mentioning a meteorological term "graupel". There is nothing problematic about it.

Finally a Submit button is shown.

And upon submission:

Thank you!

We received your request. We'll review, and take further action if appropriate.

In some cases, we may send an email with more information to the address you provided. Please check your trash or spam folders to avoid missing the communication.

I’m now waiting for a reply. It has been three days. I’ve never had my account locked before. I could just click the button to delete the tweet, but it says that if I clicked delete I would acknowledge that my tweet violated the Twitter rules, which it obviously doesn’t. However, since Twitter’s moderation staff has been drastically reduced, will I ever get my account unlocked otherwise? Melodramatically, I feel like Galileo being forced to recant for something true in order to be spared my (Twitter) life. With a locked account, I’m still getting push notifications for accounts I follow, but whenever I open the app I am taken to the screen to delete my “offending” tweet. If I do get my account unlocked, what’s to keep this from just happening again? It’s ironic considering Twitter’s new owner pledged to reduce limits on free speech.

I’m glad I recently grabbed an archive of my Twitter account. I guess this could be a forcing function to move over to Mastodon. It’s also causing me to blog, which is good! (But will anyone see this?)

December 1st Update

My account hasn’t been unlocked, but the screen I see when I open Twitter has been updated. Instead of “Delete Tweet” it now is a “Remove Tweet” screen:

Remove Tweet screen

It’s largely the same as the original Delete Tweet screen, except instead of the following:

By clicking delete, you acknowledge that your Tweet violated the Twitter Rules.

I now am seeing this:

By clicking Remove, you are removing the content of your Tweet and forgoing the option to appeal this violation. Please note that the original content will be replaced with a notice stating your Tweet is no longer available because it violated the Twitter Rules. This notice will be accessible via direct URL and from your profile timeline for 14 days. Learn more.

So if I delete the tweet, not only will I be falsely admitting it violated Twitter’s rules, but I’ll also have this public confession stuck on my profile for two weeks.

December 20th Update

I finally heard back from Twitter Support, after more than three weeks of having been locked out:


Thanks for reaching out about this.

Twitter takes reports like this very seriously, and our goal is to create a safe environment for everyone to express themselves freely.

We’ve reviewed your account, and it looks like we made a mistake. Our records have been updated to indicate that there was no violation, and we apologize for causing you to delete the Tweet(s).

We appreciate your patience while we investigated this.



So my account is now unlocked! And since I never deleted my tweet out of principle, you can now see it in all its glory:

Nevertheless, even though my account access has been restored, I’m definitely not as prone to tweet as I was before (not that I have been tweeting very much lately anyway). Being erroneously locked out of my account and the overall deterioration of the platform have left me wanting for something better (as is the same for the many). I hope Mastodon can rise to the challenge, although I’m not set up there yet.

3 replies on “Twitter Account Locked”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *