To protect our users from spam and other malicious activity, this account is temporarily locked. Please log in to https://twitter.com to unlock your account


#1

Since March 21st, 2017 or so, all my news bots that tweet rss feed contents to twitter started getting blocked with this message:

====
To protect our users from spam and other malicious activity, this account is temporarily locked. Please log in to https://twitter.com to unlock your account.

These are the same bots with the same code and content that ran fine for 3 years. All of the sudden they are considered spam/malicious? This is pretty infuriating as the only way to “fix” it is to reset their password. What are we supposed to do about this?


#2

Hi, I’m seeing the same thing also. Many accounts locked with same message.

I can only assume that Twitter have changed some kind of algorithm or increased sensitivity. I haven’t seen any notification from them about this, but it’s causing me a bit of a headache at the moment!

Anyone have any further info on this or experiencing the same problem?

Thanks.


#3

I would like to see an official response from someone on the Twitter Staff and also a blog/heads up to be given in the future of these types of changes.


#4

Hi, yes I agree. I have contacted them, but no response yet.

It would be good to know what has changed (clearly something has) and as you say, some kind of heads up about these changes.

I am only making an assumption that something has changed, but as you, we haven’t made any changes to our platform and we’ve got multiple accounts being locked with the same error :

326 - To protect our users from spam and other malicious activity, this account is temporarily locked. Please log in to https://twitter.com to unlock your account.

More worrying is that some users have now had this same issue again after already changing their password and if it continues without knowing what the changes are and how to overcome/comply, we’re going to start losing users.

All started on or around the date you mentioned and is continuing to happen now.

Will be interesting to see if other users are having the same problem and if we can get any official communication into what has changed.

Please post back if you hear anything and I’ll do the same.


#5

I am seeing similar thing on the app I work on. It affects some accounts and not others, and i can’t seem to find a pattern in between accounts that have been locked and those that did not. I looked at the frequency they tweet at and the content and see similar content and behavior in both locked and unlocked accounts. It started at the same time you guys report it started. i had a couple customer sign in and unlock their accounts and in 12-18 hours they were locked again. I put more conservative limits on how frequent they tweet and it did not help. I am hoping between the 3 of us maybe we can see a pattern. Of course I too would love an official response. We tweet to many accounts and do not spam or tweet anything the customers don’t want us too. This is bad for business.

For curiosity is there a regular frequency to the tweets your platform sends out? (same or similar time between). How about somewhat similar content or totally different? also, do all of your tweets have links in them?


#6

My tweets go out every 15 minutes during working hours, no more than 5 at a time. All do have links and hashtags. Content is of similar nature, for example, one bot is all about NBA news, another is about MLB news, etc. If we’re breaking some rules, it would be nice to know about them even post mortem.


#7

I agree. i was wondering if we happen to be using a hashtag that was trending at a certain point. They seem to want to protect against automated usage of trending tags. I have no evidence this is the case, just a thought.


#8

I’ve just had one blocked for the third time, this particular one tweets every 30 minutes, hardly breaking any limits.

I’ve seen a very large number of our customers have this same issue with no changes on our platform to account for this sudden issue.

At the moment I cannot see a pattern unfortunately. Some of the accounts post every 5 minutes, some every 15, 30 60 minutes but no pattern so far.

I’ve reported it twice to Twitter now looking for an answer, but no official response so far.

Please report back with any findings so that we can share it and look, where possible, to work with any change that they may have made.

Thanks.


#9

Will do. I am leaning more toward content over a certain amount of time or number of tweets being the issue rather than the rate at which we are tweeting. They already have rate limits in place for that and the rate for these “spam locked” accounts is not super frequent. The content is a tough one to diagnose. It could be some overall similarity algorithm or maybe it has more to do with hashtags, either specific hashtags or repetition of the same hashtags in a set of recent tweets. Or it could be tweets with links, maybe if every tweet has a link. The trouble is we have accounts that have the same tweet behavior that have not been locked. But then I don’t know if they just haven’t been evaluated yet. Very frustrating. They made an api and apps so that developers can do what we do. We are not spamming (or at least don’t think we are) and it is very bad for businesses that rely on this to work.


#10

I messaged (through LinkedIn) an ex co-worker of mine who works at Twitter right now in hopes he may be able to direct this thread to the right person internally. crosses fingers


#11

Awesome!


#12

Interesting, I note that this thread has been moved to ‘Rules and Policies’ from it’s original REST API location. Someone at Twitter (or I guess a moderator) must have seen it already, hopefully we can get a reply.

One thing that surprises me is that, if this is a widespread issue, there are not more people reporting it here?

We’ve now seen a large number of accounts locked, all the same reason, and they’re being locked again, so it isn’t a ‘one-off’ thing that has happened.

I’m still awaiting a reply from Twitter. Will post back if I hear anything.


#13

There is a chance that one of our safety algorithms was tweaked if there’s a specific change in behaviour here. For example, this might happen if the links being shared are detected as potentially suspicious, or if a lot of accounts appear to be Tweeting similar or identical content. Our antispam system (“Botmaker”) is constantly evolving so it is not possible to provide advance warning for these kinds of situations.

I appreciate that, as developers, this affects your applications; but unfortunately this is an account support issue rather than something we can help you with on the developer platform side, so the correct route is to report this via the account support forms. For URLs that are marked as unsafe or spam, there is guidance here. For suspended applications, use the platform support forms.

Thank you.


#14

FYI, I found this based on Andy’s comments:

I tweeted at Raghav asking him to look at this thread, he may be able to provide more information on what we can do.


#15

@andypiper Thank you for your comment here, it is much appreciated.

My particular issue is that no-one from Twitter is responding to tell me what has changed or how to inform Twitter that the behaviour you are flagging as malicious is not. We’re talking hundreds of our users having their accounts locked all of a sudden How can I engage with someone at Twitter to find out what is happening? I’d like to have the opportunity to find out what is going on so that I can guide my users accordingly.

Currently users are changing their password, which works, but the accounts are being locked again straight away with no explanation as to why except for the message in the title.

I understand that you say that this is for account support, but ultimately something has changed on Twitters platform but we do not know what or why, or how to now comply with these changes…
Do you have any further advice on how to get a response or how it would be possible to submit any information with a view to getting a better understanding of what is happening?

Thank you.


#16

I have lost several applications because of this blocking so yes, I consider this very much an API /Developer issue because if you all are encouraging us to develop on the Twitter platform which provides value added services to Twitter and gives people a reason to look at Twitter (including the advertising and other sponsored tweets) but then when we come up with innovative services to enhance the Twitter experience for YOUR users who CHOOSE to follow our tweets, we get shut out as spam bots. I guess those of us who develop content for Twitter are not that important. This issue needs to be escalated but I am glad I was not the only one experiencing this.


#17

All of my bots are currently blocked again, it keeps happening… I change their password and maybe 24 hours later they are again suspended. This new algorithm is breaking our applications which are not spamming anyone. Please escalate this @andypiper to someone internally. We need help!


#18

Another day passes and another bunch of customers accounts locked due to ‘malicious activity’ and no response from Twitter.

I really don’t know how to get Twitters attention other than reaching out here. We’ve spent 3 years developing our platform and we now face losing everything if we can’t find a solution or someone responds either here or via reaching out on Twitter.

Surely there must be a way to alert Twitter from a development point of view?


#19

Could it be a repeat of this?


#20

If I had to guess why this is happening, I would wager it’s related to this:
http://www.nasdaq.com/article/twitter-bot-scandal-puts-further-pressure-on-ceo-jack-dorsey-cm763217