6 Reasons Why Your Twitter Account May Be Restricted (Without Your Knowing It)

6 Reasons Why Your Twitter Account May Be Restricted (Without Your Knowing It)

Twitter is entering a new era after its acquisition by Elon Musk, but despite the promises of banning nobody and adhering to free speech, various restrictions continue to be placed on Elon Musk’s platform as we speak.

Now that Twitter verification has become pay to play, it is only a matter of time until Twitter takes further steps to root out spam as well as those who are using their real-time communication platform to broadcast instead of share, especially when the broadcast is threatening to Twitter’s existence itself.

Some people log in to Twitter only to find that they have been locked out or their account deactivated. Even if that isn’t you, if you haven’t searched for yourself or your company on Twitter recently, you may want to confirm that your tweets are still being shown in the search results and that you haven’t been caught up in content moderation conversations and had your account banned or limited.

While Elon Musk has announced that he will make it transparent as to if you are being “shadow banned” and why, this has yet to materialize as of the writing of this post, leaving many an email inbox empty and companies frustrated.

If your tweets aren’t appearing in search results or you have a feeling that something is not right in Twitterville, here are some reasons why your Twitter account may be temporarily “restricted” without your knowing it.

Note that this list does not include the obvious rule-breakers such as creating fake accounts impersonating celebrities, abusive behavior, hateful conduct, illegal activity, harassment of users, abusive content, etc.

Repeatedly posting duplicate or near-duplicate content (links or tweets)

As a micro-blogging platform, why would you ever need to repeat yourself in your tweets?  You’d be surprised: you may want to introduce everyone to your company or product or blog and want to do so more than once.  For instance, I often retweeted a new blog post the day after I originally tweeted about it because not everyone may have caught it the first time.  Guy Kawasaki posted a famous blog post about this entitled “How to Drive Traffic with Repeat Tweets.”  In this fantastic analytical article, Guy shows how repeating a tweet can get significant additional traffic.  The analysis is simple: not everyone is looking at Twitter all of the time, so by repeating your tweet you are increasing your chances of getting noticed.  Twitter thinks otherwise: Post repeat tweets or repeat links and your tweets will no longer show up in search results.  You won’t even notice that this has happened until you try searching for your own tweets.

Further Reading: The 3 Best Ways How to Schedule Tweets for Twitter

HabitatUK comes to mind as the famous story of a company abusing the trending topics hashtags which ended up leading to their formal apology. You don’t want your Twitter fails to go viral either. Every time you place a hashtag at the end of your tweet, be forewarned that Twitter is watching to ensure that you are properly classifying your tweet. Don’t try to cheat the system to be found…otherwise you won’t be found anymore! If you share from FOX news or another news site, let it be occasional rather than habitual.

Further Reading: Twitter Hashtag Search: The Definitive Guide

3) Sending automated tweets or replies

Sending automated tweets or replies

If you are using a 3rd party software application or service to send automated tweets or replies, beware, you are being watched!  If social media is about being authentic and transparent, it leaves no room for automation, no matter how bad you want to get the message out.  And if you are thinking of doing some guerilla marketing by sending out automated replies, your days are numbered…

4) Using bots or applications to post similar messages based on keywords

There are sophisticated services that allow you to post messages based on keywords that show up in the Twitter timeline.  As sophisticated and attractive as these services might be to some Internet marketers, Twitter is even more sophisticated at finding you!

5) Posting similar messages over multiple accounts

If you have multiple accounts and are trying to market or broadcast the same message from multiple angles, please stop.  If you don’t stop, you will be forced to stop!

If you don’t know what this looks like, check this out:

twitter account restricted same tweet multiple accounts

Further Reading: Twitter Etiquette: What are the Rules? Here’s 21 to Consider

6) Aggressively following and un-following people

I am assuming that this is the reason why most people have their Twitter account restricted.  I don’t think an explanation is needed here, but Twitter has its limitations on how many people you can follow in a day.  In addition, if you “aggressively” unfollow people in order to follow more people, Twitter will restrict your account.  “Aggressively” is an abstract term, so as long as you are doing periodic follows and unfollows I assume you will not have any issues here.

The above 6 reasons why your account may be restricted aren’t issues that I made up: they actually come straight from the Twitter support article on Best Practices.  Twitter is definitely getting serious about the “quality” of Tweets, and if you aren’t equally serious, you will be removed from search results and lose the benefits of being able to use the real-time service.

The common point for all of the above is just to be “natural.”  If you use Twitter in a real and authentic way without over-relying on 3rd party applications or tools you should be O.K.  Should you use any programs to completely automate your activities, use with caution!

Further Reading: 12 Ways How to Get More Followers on Twitter

What to Do if Your Twitter Account is Restricted?

Twitter Support describes 3 different scenarios where your account might be restricted and what to do in each scenario:

Limited Accounts

Suspicious behavior can lead to having your Twitter account changed to a limited account. Essentially, rather than a permanent suspension, a limited account means that you have violated the terms of service, and will have your account capabilities limited to only reaching your followers. Similar to a locked Twitter account, a limited account is restricted, but it is not locked out altogether, and Twitter followers can still see and engage with your content. Unusual activity and violations of Twitter’s abusive behavior policy are common reasons for account limitations. 

Limited Due to Suspicious Activity

Suspicious activity can vary. Common suspicious activities include posting fake news, supporting, promoting, or engaging with fake accounts, or behavior that otherwise leads to Twitter suspension. If an account is limited as a result of suspicious activity, Twitter will either limit the account or verify the account using a mobile phone. This is done to ensure that accounts are being used by real people. If unusual activity is detected, and a verification with a mobile phone is completed, access to user accounts may either be restored, or continue to be limited until a period of time has passed, and the account is no longer behaving in an aggressive or inappropriate way. 

Limited Due to Violating Twitter Rules

Limiting an account as a result of violating Twitter rules will carry the most significant consequences, not unlike a temporary suspension. When this occurs, only current followers can be reached via DMs, and users will not be able to Tweet, Re-Tweet, link to other social networks, or truly engage in Twitter. From re-tweeting the words of a white supremacist, to posting hateful content or responses, there are numerous reasons to be limited on the social network. Sharing information from major news sites like ABC News, CBS News, and more are not typically used to justify violating the hateful conduct policy, but it is possible to do so if you post any content that can be considered inflammatory. 

Twitter recently announced a new appeal system where you can submit a request to loosen all restrictions if you don’t want to deal with the limitations listed above. You can access that site together with instructions here.

Have any of you faced these restrictions before? Did your tweets come up when you searched for your name? Please comment below.

Further Reading: The 24 Best Twitter Tools for Marketing in 2023

Hero photo by Jørgen Håland on Unsplash

Twitter Account Restricted FAQs

How long is a twitter account restricted?

The duration of a restriction on a Twitter account differs depending on the violation committed. When you see the error message saying that your account is restricted or some features have been limited, it will show how long you will get full functionality back. But typically, it may take between 12 hours up to 7 days. Restrictions are created to control abuse so make sure to check and abide by Twitter Rules to prevent account restrictions.

How do I Unrestrict my twitter account without a phone number?

To unrestrict your Twitter account, simply log in and look for the message saying your account has temporarily been restricted. Then click the Start button and follow the steps asked to regain access. If you are unable to complete the steps, you may also reach out to their customer service and submit an appeal especially if you think you didn’t violate any rules. You can do this at their Help Center.

How do I Unsuspend my twitter account 2021?

When your account gets suspended, you will receive an email notification explaining why or what have you violated. The only way to unsuspend a Twitter account is to submit an appeal and complete the form to submit a ticket. You need to convince them and explain well why you think your account shouldn’t get suspended or else your appeal will be denied. Once denied, the suspension of your account will be permanent.

How do I get my restricted twitter back?

To get your restricted Twitter back, you need to determine first the nature of the restriction. Typically, Twitter will tell you which specific content, tweet or activity is against Twitter Rules. To regain access, just log in on your app or website and find the message indicating your account or some of your features is locked . You will then see instructions on how to restore your account and simply follow the steps.

What happens when a twitter account is restricted?

When a Twitter account is restricted, either you won’t have temporary access to your whole account, or some features may be temporarily disabled. For example, you won’t be able to post a tweet, do retweets, or like a tweet. There are couple of reasons why your account can get restricted. It may be due to aggressive behavior or spamming, posting duplicated content, or probably Twitter detected a possible hacking on your account.

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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  1. About 2 weeks account was restricted for what Twitter alleged was suspicious behavior. I’d just prefer that close it altogether.

    I tried closing it myself after the Great Elon took over. My problem is that I created it through my account with Apple. I didn’t realize that it would create a radon password that I don’t know is or can find. So I’m stuck with it.
    I even tried playing dumb with the serious of images to get access back and kept choosing those that didn’t match in the hopes I would get suspended.

    Do have any knowledge on how to close an account created using an Apple account or is there away to contact Twitter directly to request they close my account?
    Thanks for the help.

    • Sorry to hear about that – I see a lot of accounts that have that warning these days. Not sure what their guidelines are for these situations in all honesty.

      This is not the answer you want to hear, but all roads lead to Twitter Customer Service, and if you don’t get a response, subscribe to Twitter Blue for a month just to be able to contact Twitter support.

      Hope this helps … good luck!

      • Dear Neal,
        It appears that I have been shadow banned.. My tweets, replies, likes, etc are not being seen. I normally receive over 100 likes per day, now NONE. They also removed my DM icon from my profile. What preceded this was an UNWANTED contact From Mr. Musk himself about CIA matters….What can I do, I am pissed….

        • Man I am really sorry to hear about that. If it regards to CIA matters or accusations, you might want to consult your lawyer. You also probably want to spend more time on other social networks!

  2. Hi Neal,

    My account was recently “Limited” based on your description above. This happened about a week ago.

    Do you know roughly how long this lasts?


    • Sorry to hear that Keegan. With Twitter’s new management, all bets are off! If it is still limited, I would definitely sign up for Twitter Blue as a way to at least get some support!

  3. How can I convert an automated Twitter account into a managing/human-run account. I’ve only one account and it’s marked as automation. I googled everywhere, tried to contact Twitter many times and no one helps. I’m not a robot, never violated any rules, or sent automated messages. I don’t see where I can change that. Please help! Thank you

    • Automated Twitter accounts is a setting that you find by going to your account settings. Select “Your account”. Select “Automation”. I do not have it turned on, but since all of your previous tweets were set as “automated”, something tells me you can’t switch to a “normal” account. You might have to start over. As always contacting Twitter Customer Support is best, and if you don’t get a response from them it might be worth it to purchase Blue for a month to get access to support. Hope this helps!

      • Thanks for the help and reply. Yeah, under Account/Automation/ there’s no option for me to opt out or change anything. The only thing I find there is information to label my automated account.
        Yeah the current responses from the support seem pretty much automated and aren’t helpful.
        Thanks, I’ll consider doing that.

  4. How do I even know that I have been suspended? I have zero notification. I can read/like/and RT, but I can no longer tweet or reply, and I don’t believe twitter/X even staffs humans to reply to other humans these days, so it’s all blind foolish guesswork.

  5. Hello, can you help me? I think I’ve been reported by some people on my Twitter account, and now Twitter has shadowbanned me with a profile caution for sensitive content, and all my posts and tweets are flagged. How can I get it fixed and appeal for that, and will that remain permanent?

    • I am really sorry to hear about your experience but let me be very clear. I am a blogger. I have no relationship with Twitter. The only way to fix Twitter-related issues is to get through to Twitter Customer Support. I do wish you the best of luck and hopefully your situation will be resolved soon…

  6. Twitter support does not read and help with my issue. All I got was an automated response. I did not have an email nor phone number under my profile account. When I tried to update, it asked for my password which I forgotten. So I logged out thinking that they are able to send me a link to reset. But this becomes a nightmare. They do not help and asked me to create a new account. I did not want to do that since I have accumulated few hundred new followers. Can anyone please help me? Thank you

    • Unfortunately, since Elon Musk’s takeover, I sense that there are simply fewer customer support individuals and they are trying to automate things. My suggestion would be to try to become a paying customer by signing up to Twitter Blue to see if you can get access to customer support. Good luck!

  7. I’m losing my health playing Twitter games. For weeks I’ve noticed that my tweets no longer receive the same views and I don’t understand why my account has been subjected to these restrictions. I tried to read something in their help center but nothing, in the “Contact” section if I try to click on “submit a ticket” the same page always reloads; there is no (despite mentioning it!) a specific form for my problem, I fill in specific forms for other problems and they reply saying that it is not their responsibility and that I have to look for a specific form in their help center (we always come back to the same point). I don’t know what to do anymore, I don’t know if other people have had the same problem, if it is solved … when it will be solved … Twitter is confirmed to be a very unprofessional company.
    Does anyone have an idea how to solve this problem or can give me some pointers?

    • I would say, in general, Twitter users, followers, and engagement are all down compared to pre-Elon Musk times, so one really can’t expect the same results. I have been changing the way that I tweet recognizing external links no longer perform and the tweets that rule today are Threads and informational content with selfies. If you haven’t changed your tweeting strategy recently this could be the issue. Hope this advice helps…

  8. Twitter is actually restricted for many now… twitter has reduced its access to developers and make it highly expensive for every business.

          • Wondering if anyone can help me, my tweets go to my drafts the error message is something along the lines of we couldn’t send this tweet retry or go to drafts, I have tried sending from drafts that doesn’t work. I also cannot like any tweets. I tried to open a support ticket but you have to select what is going on and there is nothing appropriate to select. The account is not suspended! Praying someone can help as this is the second twitter account that has gone wrong for me!!

          • Sorry to hear about your issues Jess. I recommend two approaches: 1) open a support ticket anyway under a different topic 2) become a Twitter blue subscriber and then contact support where hopefully they will take you more seriously. I also recommend you clear your browser cache and/or try to access under a different browser. Hope this helps!

      • Did Elon ever fulfill his promise to “show your true account status, so you know clearly if you’ve been shadowbanned, the reason why and how to appeal” ?

        • Oh dude, if you were to analyze everything that Elon has promised you will find lots of interesting things…but other management people have promised similar things on other social networks. Elon just seems more vocal and upfront when compared to other social media CEOs, no?

          • I ‘d love to learn what things you found interesting about Elon’s promises.

            Have you already written about that?

            I don’t have enough data to answer your question.

            My cynical response is that I think he enjoys lying more than other social media CEOs.

  9. It is totally messed up. I’m still trying to figure out what I did? I’ve contacted the help center and have changed my password at least five times.

  10. I’ve seen a lot of this, and most of what I see is from people who have unfollowed me, so therefore I am surmising that they aggressively unfollowed my @mrshanemcdonald account – I have chanced my account and it seems to be OK. It is weird that you would not be notified that you were restricted… like a heads up “stop what you are doing as we are restricting you for a few days” …etc

  11. Anyone know how long an account is temporarily restricted for. It says my account is locked and a code has been sent to the number associated to my account but thing is I don’t have that number anymore

    • Exile,
      I have the same problem as you!! Last night at 11 pm they blocked my account, temporarily restriction, i says…I have a fan account for 5 years and the number that I registered with..I don’t have it anymore.

      PLEASE if anyone knows how to help us, reply back and we can exchange via email.

      Many thanks.

      • I have the same situation with yours, if you do know how to open the account please help us, I have lost my phone and so was my number, my twitter account is now asking for verification but I dont have it anymore, what do I do?

    • I have the same problem right now, and seeing as Twitter Support is barely existent, i may not ever get my account back.

  12. Hi!
    My account is temporarily restricted. I didn’t do anything wrong. I have contacted twitter support many times but i did not got any answer or help . Now about two week my account is temporarily restricted. I dont know what can i do ! Someone can hel me ??

  13. My account is temporarily restricted and I didn’t do anything in the list above as well. I don’t think I did anything wrong at all actually. I can’t contact twitter support or send a forum because it says I need to log into my twitter account but I can’t because it says I need a log in verification code which they would send through my SMS number, and yes it is the right number. but I have not received anything and its been three days. If any one can help or knows how to get in contact with a REAL person from twitter. Please help and let me know. Thank you so much.

    • The same thing happened to me too
      Same exact thing
      I don’t even talk to people much on it and it got restricted
      When i try to get verification it said carrier not supported
      I’ve contacted them close to 1 week now and no response

  14. My account was temporarily restricted too, I wasn’t even doing anything to get restricted! Do you know how long it will be temporarily restricted for?

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