Last week, Twitter suspended a ton of accounts known for stealing tweets and/or tweetdecking, aka the practice of mass-retweeting tweets into artificial virality.
@Dory, @GirlPosts, @SoDamnTrue, Girl Code/@reiatabie, Common White Girl/@commonwhitegiri, @teenagernotes, @finah, @holyfag, and @memeprovider were just a few of the accounts that got swept up in last week's "Tweetdeckoning."
Many of those accounts were hugely popular, and had hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers.
“Tweet stealing,” or the practice of plagiarizing another person’s tweet and passing it off as your own, has long plagued Twitter and irked many users.
Though people had complained about these accounts for years, Twitter did not take action against them until BuzzFeed News reported on the existence of "tweetdeckers" in January.
But even as Twitter purged its platform of the notorious tweet thieves last week, a few prominent ones remained — and, notably, they were verified.
@FreddyAmazin, @Noahasf, @thebaemarcus, and @abdinoorx2 — all verified accounts known for stealing tweets — outlasted the initial wave of suspensions by one week until they were suspended on Friday.
@FreddyAmazin was considered one of the original tweet stealers, and had more than 5 million followers at the time of his suspension.
@Cameron, which was the personal account of the owner of previously suspended tweet-stealing account @TweetLikeAGirl, was also suspended.
It is unclear if @Cameron stole tweets on his personal account, but Twitter can suspend all accounts owned by users who violate site rules.
Many people on Twitter have been wondering whether these accounts initially survived the suspensions due to their verified status.
But following an inquiry by BuzzFeed News on Friday about why the accounts were still active and verified, Twitter suspended the accounts.
“Keeping Twitter safe and free from spam is a top priority for us," a Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. "We have policies in place that prohibit behavior such as selling or trading engagements, or engaging in spammy behavior."
The spokesperson also responded to the users who've assumed the accounts weren't suspended right away because of their verified status, saying Twitter staff "take time to ensure we get it right."
"These rules apply to everyone using our service, including Verified accounts, and we take action on any accounts that violate our policies," the spokesperson said. "We recognize how important it is to enforce these rules fairly and carefully, and take time to ensure we get it right before taking action.”
It is not entirely clear why these accounts were originally verified, but it may have taken place months, or even years ago, when Twitter allowed users to apply to be verified.
Because the accounts used their actual names and photos, and because their large quantities of followers may have made led Twitter to consider them "an account of public interest," it's possible they were given verification through application.
Twitter largely halted verifications in November amid widespread criticism over white supremacists being verified.
At the time, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted "the system is broken and needs to be reconsidered."
The article has been updated to clarify that @Cameron owned @TweetLikeAGirl, a suspended tweet-stealing account. Twitter can suspend all accounts owned by users who violate site rules.
Julia Reinstein is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Julia Reinstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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