Tech

Twitter Apologizes For ‘Mistakenly’ Suspending Several Random Accounts, Declines To Explain Why

REUTERS/Toby Melville

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Twitter apologized Wednesday for “mistakenly” suspending several accounts, noting that the suspensions were not tied to objectionable content the accounts might have tweeted.

“We’re working to undo this and get those accounts back to normal,” Twitter Support wrote in a tweet, referring to what the company said were several accounts that were apparently locked up. The platform, which declined to provide the Daily Caller News Foundation with comment addressing the problem, went on to apologize in a follow up tweet for suspending accounts.

“The accounts that were mistakenly locked or limited have been restored. We’re sorry this happened in the first place,” the apology stated. Some of the suspensions might have impacted the affected accounts’s follower counts, according to Twitter. (RELATED: Twitter Permanently Suspends Trump’s Favorite Twitter Troll Over Repeated Copyright Violations)

FILE PHOTO: Facebook, Google and Twitter logos are seen in this combination photo from Reuters files. REUTERS/File Photos/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Facebook, Google and Twitter logos are seen in this combination photo from Reuters files. REUTERS/File Photos/File Photo

Twitter Support linked to a page on the Twitter website that explains the company’s suspension policy. “We may lock an account or place temporary limitations on certain account features if an account appears to be compromised or in violation of the Twitter Rules or Terms of Service,” a section on the page notes before explaining what a user can do if their account is suspended.

Major tech platforms frequently chalk up such mistakes to human error. YouTube said in May that a glitch in the platform’s enforcement system caused an algorithm to remove comments that month containing a phrase used to criticize the Chinese Communist Party.

Any comment posted to Google-owned YouTube containing the phrase “五毛,” which translates to “wumao” and stands for “50-cent party,” would be deleted within seconds with almost no warning, several outlets reported. The phrase refers to a CCP-funded project paying trolls 50 Chinese cents for every post they publish supporting the government.

“This appears to be an error in our enforcement systems and we are currently investigating,” a YouTube spokeswoman told the DCNF in May. The company’s representative did not respond to further questions about what led the algorithm to mistakenly nix the content.

Facebook, Twitter, and other tech platforms have reportedly been relying more on algorithms for content moderation as employees stay at home amid a pandemic that has reportedly killed more than 200,000 people in the United States, according to data from John Hopkins University.

Facebook, for its part, has acknowledged that relying on artificial intelligence rather than human moderators could increase instances where user’s content gets falsely flagged.

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