Plea to Twitter
Published on 12/14/2020, 810 words, 3 minutes to read
NOTE: This is a very different kind of post compared to what I usually write. If you or anyone you know works at Twitter, please link this to them. I am in a unique situation and the normal account recovery means do not work. If you work at Twitter and are reading this, my case number is [redacted].
EDIT(19:51 M12 14 2020): My account is back. Thank you anonymous Twitter support people. For everyone else, please take this as an example of how NOT to handle account issues. The fact that I had to complain loudly on Twitter to get this weird edge case taken care of is ludicrous. I'd gladly pay Twitter just to have a support mechanism that gets me an actual human without having to complain on Twitter.
On Sunday, December 13, 2020, I noticed that I was locked out of my Twitter account. If you go to @theprincessxena today, you will see that the account is locked out for "unusual activity". I don't know what I did to cause this to happen (though I have a few theories) and I hope to explain them in the headings below. I have gotten no emails or contact from Twitter about this yet. I have a backup account at @CadeyRatio as a stopgap. I am also on mastodon as @email@example.com.
In place of my tweeting about quarantine life, I am writing about my experiences here.
Why I Can't Unlock My Account
I can't unlock my account the normal way because I forgot to set up two factor authentication and I also forgot to change the phone number registered with the account to my Canadian one when I moved to Canada. I remembered to do this change for all of the other accounts I use regularly except for my Twitter account.
In order to stop having to pay T-Mobile $70 per month, I transferred my phone number to Twilio. This combined with some clever code allowed me to gracefully migrate to my new Canadian number. Unfortunately, Twitter flat-out refuses to send authentication codes to Twilio numbers. It's probably to prevent spam, but it would be nice if there was an option to get the authentication code over a phone call.
Theory 1: International Travel
Recently I needed to travel internationally in order to start my new job at Tailscale. Due to an unfortunate series of events over two months, I needed to actually travel internationally to get a new visa. This lead me to take a very boring trip to Minnesota for a week.
During that trip, I tweeted and fleeted about my travels. I took pictures and was in my hotel room a lot.
We can't dig up the link for obvious reasons, but one person said they were always able to tell when we are traveling because it turns the twitter account into a fast food blog.
I think Twitter may have locked out my account because I was suddenly in Minnesota after being in Canada for almost a year.
Theory 2: Misbehaving API Client
I use mi as part of my new blogpost announcement pipeline. One of the things mi does is submits new blogposts and some metadata about them to Twitter. I haven't been able to find any logs to confirm this, but if something messed up in a place that was unlogged somehow, it could have triggered some kind of anti-abuse pipeline.
Theory 3: NixOS Screenshot Set Off Some Bad Thing
One of my recent tweets that I can't find anymore is a tweet about a NixOS screenshot for my work machine. I think that some part of the algorithm somewhere really hated it, and thus triggered the account lock. I don't really understand how a screenshot of KDE 5 showing neofetch output could make my account get locked, but with enough distributed machine learning anything can happen.
Theory 4: My Password Got Cracked
I used a random password generated with iCloud for my Twitter password. Theoretically this could have been broken, but I doubt it.
Overall, I just want to be able to tweet again. Please spread this around for reach. I don't like using my blog to reach out like this, but I've been unable to find anyone that knows someone at Twitter so far and I feel this is the best way to broadcast it. I'll update this post with the resolution to this problem when I get one.
I think the International Travel theory is the most likely scenario. I just want a human to see this situation and help fix it.
Facts and circumstances may have changed since publication. Please contact me before jumping to conclusions if something seems wrong or unclear.