While you won’t actually be sitting in a cell making collect calls asking folks to put money on your book, being in “Twitter jail” is a real thing that could have consequences for both businesses and personal brands alike.
Twitter can and will temporarily suspend your account for a number of different reasons, most of which have to do with the attempt to eliminate spam and/or fraud on the network, and control bandwidth resources. Technically, any Twitter user can only follow 2,000 other handles total and follow no more than 1,000 per day. But that number can vary if your follower-to-users followed ratio makes sense to the Twitter police. In other words, you can’t be following 15,000 handles and only have 100 people following you. This is especially important when you consider the concept of “follow back." I’ve seen lots of Twitter profiles where the users promise to follow anyone back, but that can bite you in the you-know-what. Popular Philadelphia-born rapper Philly Chase (@iamphillychase) has over one million followers on the social network and has been able to use his Twitter savvy along with his talent to secure a record deal. Chase stays engaged with his fans by following everyone back within 24 hours, something he says has “landed him in Twitter jail more times than he can count”. He hopes that with his high number of followers he can eventually get his account verified and those limits will change.
Another way to land in Twitter jail is by sending out too many tweets, which seems completely counterintuitive if you ask me, but whatever… Twitter has a limit of 100 tweets per hour, or 1,000 tweets per day total, although how they actually calculate the per-hour value is questionable. Retweets also count in your total number of daily tweets. You cannot send more than 250 direct messages per day as well. So you may want to think twice before you tweet that picture of your lunch, you might need to save that tweet for something more important later. Other violations, like flooding a trending topic with unrelated tweets or repeatedly posting others’ info as your own could result in permanent suspension. So all y’all out there retweeting without acknowledgement (and you know who you are) – Twitter is coming for you.
With suspensions that take effect instantly and can last anywhere from a couple of minutes to 24 hours, this could be fairly harmful to a person or business that uses the social network for more than just retweeting their horoscope or favorite quote. Tweetchats have been halted abruptly when the moderator gets suspended because they’re over their tweet limit for the day. Brands could lose followers (and potential revenue) if those followers feel like they’re being ignored, when really you may just be on “Twitter timeout” for the day. So if you’re a Twitter power user, make sure you’re following the rules or you could find yourself on lockdown.
Follow tech-life expert Stephanie Humphrey on Twitter.