At first glance, rumours spread that it was a group of British girls were behind the suspension of UK based ‘Twitter Famous’ accounts, but as the days progressed, it became clear that wasn’t case.
The epidemic, now dubbed by its remaining users as the ‘Twitter Purge’, began on Wednesday morning when an account belonging to the well known user ‘ProfessorKumi’ was suddenly taken off the timeline. His followers and friends appeared to take the suspension lightly, assuming that his account would be restored after a few days. Just a day later however, Kumi received an email from Twitter HQ stating that he had broken one or more of the terms and conditions and that therefore he would not be getting his account back. This was when the jokes stopped and the concern began.
Hundreds of established accounts with tens of thousands of followers each were also suspended over the span of a few days, causing outrage and fear amongst thousands of followers. In the haste of mass deletion, many accounts were forced to go on private, meaning their tweets were locked and anyone who didn’t follow them were not able to do so. However this didn’t have an effect they presumed it would, as private accounts were also shortly suspended with no word of warning.
Users were left with one question in particular – why? Typically, the only reason Twitter will suspend an account and refuse restoration is if it has been reported by a number of users for harmful content, harassment, hateful conduct or violent threats (according to their guidelines). This simply left users even more bewildered, given that some accounts didn’t hold any harmful material and were still deactivated.
Earlier in the year over 300,000 accounts were suspended because of the new policies introduced concerning violent nature or threat of terrorism. Twitter has not yet released a reason for the consistent suspensions this week and has therefore created a rush of concern and frustration amongst its remaining users. Now, other apps have taken this as an opportunity to promote their own social networking platforms such as ‘Blitter’, which currently stands at over 50,000 users despite being a little over a week old – most of the users being ex-Twitter heads who were also victims of the ‘Twitter Purge’.