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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.

Plea to 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 protected].

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.

Mara is hacker

Mara

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.


This article was posted on M12 14 2020. Facts and circumstances may have changed since publication. Please contact me before jumping to conclusions if something seems wrong or unclear.

This post was WebMentioned at the following URLs:

The art for Mara was drawn by Selicre.

The art for Cadey was drawn by ArtZora Studios.