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How to get instantly banned from Twitter

Although Twitter try to give themselves an image of not being too prompt at fulfilling subpoenas, they appear to be die-hard anonymity haters. Proof, you ask? Well, I ran a little experiment today: I signed up an account from Tor and with a trashable e-mail.
I then started to complete the signup tutorial (you know, that silly welcome process where they almost force you to follow people who already have lots of followers). At some point, I reached for the confirmation e-mail and clicked it.
The confirmation seemed successful at first. Then when I tried to reach the next step, I got a message saying I should confirm my e-mail (with a non-working option to resend the confirmation e-mail). After refreshing the page, oops, my account was suspended already. Not a single tweet, barely any follow (and I only followed suggestions from the very guided welcome guide)… just suspended:
Twitter account suspended with 0 tweets and only 5 followees

Looks like I can trash that account already. Only problem is: not sure if I got banned because of the trashable e-mail or because of the Tor IP.
Nevermind, on with the experiment, I created a non-trashable e-mail (well, a “not as trashable” one, at least), and used it to sign up again. Luckily, Tor kept me on the same IP so I was able to check how it goes when signing up from a banned IP: Twitter doesn’t tell you there’s a big fat red flag on your IP, but it does give you a ReCAPTCHA (*sigh*), asking if you’re human.
On with the sign up, completed the tutorial, then comes the e-mail validation and… all good, apparently.

So, the ban seems to have been triggered by the trashable e-mail. Or maybe a combination of Tor + the trashable e-mail. That’s a bit stupid though, because:
1) as long as I’m on Tor I can just create a new e-mail account and then throw it away. It’s a bit more time-consuming than a real trashable e-mail, but just as anonymous.
2) they could just tell the user at account creation that the e-mail address they try to use is forbidden, instead of being an ass.

When I get the occasion, I’ll try to create an account from a “clean” IP (not Tor, not hosting company), and see how it goes…

Posted in privacy, social network stuff.


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