Well, it seems there is at least one human at Twitter, or a good imitation of one. I have received a qualified apology. And my reason for “qualified” is as it seems to imply that my account exhibited automated behaviour. I’m still struggling to understand how expanding a very long conversation thread as I was reading it exhibited such behaviour. Perhaps I was reading too fast? But I’ll let it rest for now.
We’re writing to let you know that your account is now unlocked. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.
A little background: We have systems that find and remove automated spam Twitter accounts, and it looks like yours was flagged as spam by mistake. This can happen if an account exhibits automated behavior in violation of our rules.
We apologize for the mixup, and hope to see back on Twitter soon.
If you need to get in touch with us again, please file a report through your Twitter app or our forms page, as this account isn’t monitored for replies.
I haven’t had a personal Twitter account, up until today, and now I’m locked out due to some violation or other, but have absolutely no idea what.
I hadn’t been signed up for more than 3 minutes when I was locked out when a tweet and the comments I was reading disappeared and was replaced with a message stating that my account was disabled until I could verify my identity! On acknowledging the message, I was directed to a screen where I was to enter my phone number As usual in these situations I checked the URL before I did so just to make sure it was valid. It was.
Every attempt at unlocking the account resulted in a silent phone call from Alabama in the USA (I was expecting an SMS message) and an empty email message. Then this message arrived by email:
We’re writing to let you know that your account has been flagged for unusual behavior that violates the Twitter Rules, and has been locked until you take the following steps:
Log into your account, or open your Twitter app on iOS or Android.
You’ll see a message about your account, and a prompt to click “Start.”
Select your country/region, and then enter your phone number.
Click “Send code.”
You’ll receive a message from Twitter with a confirmation code.
Enter the code you receive on the prompt screen. You’ll receive a confirmation. Please note, it may take a few minutes for your account to be completely unlocked.
If you’re still experiencing a problem after confirming your identity, respond to this message and provide us with more details about what’s happening.
Please note, repeat violations of the Twitter Rules can lead to a permanent suspension of your account.
I have no idea whether the “violation” is in regards to reading tweets and associated comments or whether it’s to do with being unable to verify my account. Keep in mind the only activity I had performed was to view two or three tweets and expand the comments. That was all apart from trying to unlock the account.
I followed the instruction provided as far as step 4. The “message” I’m supposed to receive in step 5 consists of a silent telephone call and an empty email. Impass! I’m at a loss as to how I’m supposed to enter a nonexistent verification code in step 6. I’ve emailed them with the details of what happened but who knows if any action will be taken:
Dear Twitter, I signed up for an account today and tried to use my mobile phone number to verify my account. I never received an SMS message. After several attempts to resend the verification code, I opted to set up the account using an email address. This worked as I received the 6-digit code and was able to sign in. I received the code at 16:50 NZDT.
I started reading some tweets and as I was expanding some of the comments, a message popped up informing me that Twitter was unable to verify my identity and I needed to enter a phone number. That I did: [Ph number provided]. Almost immediately my mobile phone rang, but on answering it, there was complete silence. I waited a few seconds until the call terminated. The call came from [Ph number provided]. I tried re-sending the code two more times with the same result. I also tried using my home phone number [Ph number provided], again with the same result.
Shortly afterwards, I received four email messages from firstname.lastname@example.org. The sending mail server was [server name and IP address provided]. The emails were all sent sent at 16:55:29 NZDT and were devoid of content. I have included the source code of one of the messages below. A few minutes later, this email to which I am now responding arrived. It was sent earlier than the 4 empty messages at 17:53:34 NZDT.
So my questions are:
In what way have I violated Twitter’s rules?
How do I unlock my account in the absence of a verification code?
Perhaps I might receive a response in a day or three, but who knows? Has anyone else faced similar situations with the social media giants?
I am aware that Alex Berenson is somewhat of a controversial author, but if his recent claim about indefinite detentions in Aotearoa New Zealand is so wildly inaccurate, how factual are his comments about other causes he promotes? Fact checking on the situation on Aotearoa New Zealand is so simple, that Berenson’s comment borders on being hilarious.
According to a recent tweet, Berenson claims that people here are being detained indefinitely:
Knowing Berenson’s opposition to the way most nations are managing the pandemic, I don’t know whether his tweet is a genuine misunderstanding of the context, or he is being deliberately disingenuous.
Let’s get the story straight shall we?
Currently our borders are closed to everyone attempting to enter the country except for NZ citizens, residents and those who have qualified for special exemptions. There is no restriction on anyone leaving the country.
Everyone arriving in New Zealand must go into managed isolation for two weeks.
There is a high level of trust required of those in isolation. They are put up in mostly 4 and 5 star hotels at taxpayer expense and the facilities are made “secure” by the way of temporary fencing of the type typically seen around construction sites. As has been demonstrated by one “escapee”, it is very easy to cut the plastic ties that hold the fencing together.
Of the more than 30,000 people that have passed through managed isolation, just four have broken the rules and left the premises where they were isolated without gaining permission.
There is no indefinite confinement. The statement that thousands of people will be quarantined in isolation facilities for months and possibly years was in reference to the protocol of requiring inbound travellers to isolate for 2 weeks in managed isolation.
When the 2 week isolation period is up, the returnees are free to go about their lives as we all are: no social distancing; no masks; unrestricted crowd sizes; sports facilities, bars, restaurants, nightclubs etc operate as normal. In other words, business as normal.
There is no community transmission of COVID-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand
The NZ COVID-19 cases being reported to WHO are those of people in managed isolation who tested positive within the managed isolation period. In other words, they contracted the virus before arriving in the country.
If it wasn’t for the fact that most countries have failed to get COVID-19 under control, this country would have no need for border restrictions at all.
While I’d like to think that it was a genuine error on Berenson’s part, the fact that he has not removed the tweet or made a correction is telling.
Perhaps what is less surprising is the fact that so many people accept the tweet as factually correct, even though many Kiwis have replied, made it clear the comments by Michael Baker, professor of public health at Otago University have been taken entirely out of context. In fact a quick scan of the comments and retweets seem to indicate that only Kiwis are contesting the accuracy of Berenson’s tweet. Is the rest of the world really so ignorant and willing to believe a lie?
As one Kiwi tweeted “Who needs comedy when you have Americans on Twitter”. With that, I can’t help but nod my head in agreement.
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