As several alert readers have already spotted, our Twitter account was suspended at some point in the early hours of this morning. We’ve had no email from Twitter offering any sort of explanation, but it seems most likely to have been at the behest of a Daily Express hack called Siobhan McFadyen who’s been huffily bleating to the company’s executives over the weekend about this tweet:
As far as we can tell – it’s hard to search for anything relating to a suspended account – we’ve never sent a single tweet directly to Siobhan McFadyen, and we’ve only ever mentioned her Twitter ID in three. But all weekend she’s been howling at Twitter that lots of people have been mentioning her in tweets as a result of the two articles.
In Twitter terminology, a “notification” is almost any sort of activity relating to your account, including someone merely retweeting a tweet that your ID tag is mentioned in. (You can filter out various different types to reduce the number dramatically or even completely.) For perspective on the 600 figure, Scottish MP Natalie McGarry got over 75,000 in a single day when she had an argument with JK Rowling.
There’s no sign that anyone threatened or abused McFadyen, and we certainly didn’t encourage anyone to. If she’s had any offensive messages she hasn’t retweeted or quoted them. But she’s repeatedly complained simply that anyone’s had the temerity to contact or discuss her on the open social-media platform at all.
The tweet above is directed at Twitter support and its “General Counsel” (we have no idea what that actually means) Vijaya Gadde. It notes that McFadyen’s account has had 227,000 “impressions” in a day, which is a basically meaningless term relating to how many times anyone has simply looked at your tweets.
(No context is offered showing to suggest whether that’s an atypically high or low figure for the account, but as McFadyen isn’t very popular – just 1,705 followers – it’s probably a fair bit more than usual.)
The rest of the tweet implies that Twitter’s failure to impose sanctions against, um, people looking at her tweets is responsible for the poor performance of its share price – NYSE: TWTR is the company’s code on the New York Stock Exchange. McFadyen linked the two things in this tweet to Vijaya Gadde:
So that’s about all we know at the moment. Twitter, bizarrely, has no actual specific procedure for challenging an account suspension. You have to dig through its support pages and get in touch with them to tell them they’ve suspended you, and ask what’s going on.
The auto-response says they’ll try to get back to you “within a few days”, so goodness knows how long we’ll continue to be gagged for the crime of saying that an appalling newspaper article full of lies is a “disgrace”.
(We’re sure, of course, that Scotland’s political journalists will rally to our cause in the name of free speech, just like they did when absolutely nothing happened to Stephen Daisley and David Torrance recently.)
In the meantime, readers can follow my personal account for updates, and anyone who feels that Twitter’s actions have been unjust can tweet them – politely, obviously – at @Twitter and @Support to request the @WingsScotland account be reinstated.
We apologise for the small interruption to our normal service and hope it’ll all be sorted out soon. In the meantime, we understand if any readers feel alarm at how easily a mainstream media outlet can silence a major voice on one of the biggest social-media platforms in the world simply for pointing out when a newspaper has been telling lies.