30 Jan 2013

Am I Being Blocked from Twitter *Search*? (Weekly Q&A)

am-i-blocked-from-twitter-search-02_zps9def633fI see it almost weekly: A person is trying to tweet to a hashtag; yet his/ her tweets are not visible in search results?

It may be Twitter ghost ban or a temporal flag; Twitter won’t tell you.

Once in awhile, a legitimate account will end up being thrown onto a black list. This leads to a Twitter search block, usually while they investigate your account activity to verify its authenticity.
How do you know if you are one of the people affected? It isn’t always easy, and you can go weeks or even months without realizing that your updates and hashtags aren’t making it into the mainstream search results (while being received by your followers).

Tip!
To find out if your account is being blocked in search, just do a search for your user name. While logged into Twitter, type

from:(your username)

If your posts show up, then you are fine. If they don’t, your tweets have been blocked from their results.


Why Would I Be Blocked?

As was said above, Twitter might assume you are a spam account. But they don’t immediately suspend or revoke suspected spammers.. Instead, they take the time to watch they for potential evidence that could get you blocked for good, or proof that you are not a spam profile and put back on full feature use.

Some things that may have led to this assumption are:

  • Spam Behavior. Sometimes real Twitter users will do something that comes off as spammy. Repeatedly tweeting the same content is a quick way to end up on their radar, or be reported by other members of the site. Even if you are tweeting the same link with a different comment or intro.
  • Too Frequent Retweeting. Retweeting is a compliment to other users, showing your appreciation for their content. It is also a simple way of bulking up your own feed, offering something to your followers without having to contribute something new. Both reasons are fine, and there is nothing wrong with the act in itself. But unfortunately, if you retweet too often you are seen as spamming. There is no real line between acceptable and too much, so it is hard to gauge whether your account is at risk. I would say if you are retweeting multiple times a day, it may be too much.
  • Uncompleted Bio Info. Spam accounts are usually left without details such as name, location or a written bio. This means that any legitimate account with the same lack of data looks like a potential puppet profile. Taking the time to fill your bio out properly is a good place to start in getting back on track.
  • Third Party Apps or Spam Follows. If you have given access to a third party app that is posting spammy content, or if you are a follower of a suspected or known spammer, your search results can become blocked very quickly. It is basically being guilty by association, and you are being investigated.
  • Lack of Content. Is your account new? Was it opened awhile ago but you didn’t really do anything with it until recently? Low activity on a Twitter account can potentially lead to it being flagged.

How Can I Fix This?

You should contact Twitter through their customer support page to address the problem. They reply within 1-2 days, and while their replies are usually quite short and templated, contacting them might be enough to clear it up.

Learn your lesson: The best thing you can do is stop the potential behavior that caused the issue in the first place. Provide plenty of bio info, clear any spammers or people who post spammy content from your follow list, tweet unique content regularly, disable third party apps, ect.


Conclusion

All of this will usually sort itself out over time. Your tweets should still be visible by followers in the meantime from your profile, even if they don’t come up in their feeds. If it isn’t, or if people not on your follow list cannot see your posts, go to Settings>Tweet Privacy, and make sure it has been unchecked. If it is checked it will hide your recent tweets.

Image Credits: 1.

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