Who Else Is Twitter Sandboxing?

UPDATE: See end of this post.

I am the invisible man of Twitter.

It has been this way for months.

Curiously, it coincided around the time I publicly tweeted to @ev and @biz about the rotten service. Twitter was full of FAIL Whales daily for days and days and days.

I couldn’t have been the only person to complain.

It makes me wonder how many other people on Twitter have become invisible too.

After the break I will show you what invisibility means and why it matters to everybody.

I do not show up in Twitter’s own Find People:

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(I’m glad the joke account someone set up still exists otherwise people would consider a null result a simple bug.)

I don’t show up in Twitter Search as originating tweets:

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I don’t show up Search Twitter as originating tweets:


Today, Microsoft announced this:

We have access to all the Twitter information in real-time.

We have access to the full (public) data feed. You can see the full feed of tweets natively in Bing experience, and this updates in real-time.

Do they?

Let’s see me originating tweets in BING:

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Oh. Wait. I’m not there. This is “access to the full (public) data feed”?

Don’t feel too bad (yet), Microsoft. I also don’t show up as originating tweets in —


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Or Collecta:

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Or OneRiot:

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Or Scoopler:

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Let me make something clear here too. Many people know about this situation. The earliest tweet I’ve been able to retrieve about it is dated July 2nd (and no thanks to Twitter for that, it was BackupMyTweets):

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I didn’t know this was happening until someone told me I wasn’t appearing in Twitter searches. They were trying to find a prior tweet of mine.

And oh yes, Twitter knows about this too:

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But nothing has happened:

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My Comment at TechCrunch:
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My Comment at Scripting News:
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It’s not just web-based Twitter services, either. I am invisible to people who use certain third-party Twitter clients too.

While I was creating this post, Google also announced a deal with Twitter.

You think I will show up originating tweets in Google?

Don’t put money on that — even though Google just did.

And that’s what this devolves down to: money.

Twitter has shilled itself as the ultimate marketing tool. Measure influence and popularity and other such real-time information.

That’s a lie.

I’ve seen studies of Twitter that didn’t include comprehensive statistics — because my account fell within the range of data being collected. And as I’ve detailed here, no one can get to my account.

What exactly is the legally-precise wording in the contracts that Microsoft, Google, and others sign for access to “the full (public) data feed”? Are there qualifications? Exceptions? If not, Twitter is guilty of misrepresentation and fraud.

As it is, Twitter stands guilty of not treating every account holder as an equal member of its service.

And again I ask: How many others have Twitter made invisible?

And what’s to prevent Twitter from further tampering with accounts? Money is a powerful incentive to tamper with things for the sake of a friend who has started a business, against an enemy (personal or professional) who is using Twitter, and such. There are still outstanding questions about how Twitter compiled its scandalous Suggested User List.

I mentioned money. How much did Microsoft pay? How much did Google pay?

Whatever it is, they’ve been defrauded.

Because even though I’ve submitted proof of Twitter willfully excluding me from the general population, I do show up in a competitor to BING and Google and all others whose money might now be in Twitter’s corrupt hands.


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Now that I’ve publicly posted about this, let’s see what Twitter’s response is.

Since I maintain it’s being run by children, expect my account to disappear.

That’s what hurt children would do.

Then ask yourself: How much of your business should you put in the hands of children?

I don’t know about you, but when money is involved, I’d stay the hell away from any service run like someone’s personal playground.

Finally: Twitter, don’t even think about suing me. Any level-headed lawyer would advise you against it. You don’t have a case.

But I’m sure right now there are some lawyers out there wondering if I — and other “invisibles” — have a case against you.

Update: Within ten minutes of Dave Winer tweeting about this post, someone alerted me to my unsandboxing:

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I don’t kid myself that Twitter noticed this post. They noticed Dave Winer’s tweet. Thanks, Dave!

I hope I will stay unsandboxed now.

Update 2: Not exactly 100% unsandboxed. I still don’t show up in Find People. Still, one step at a time, I guess.

Update 3: Next day, I still don’t show up in Find People. How hard is it for Twitter to fix that? And who else is invisible?

Update 4: I now appear in Find People as of Friday, October 23, 2009:

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Thanks again to Dave Winer for his tweet!

5 Responses to Who Else Is Twitter Sandboxing?

  1. Twitter_Tips says:

    This is the first issue listed by Twitter on their known issues support page: http://help.twitter.com/forums/31935/entries

    Many people have had their account restored in search simply by asking support to restore it. @ev and @biz are not in support, and get their names mentioned far too many times for them to read or respond to http://j.mp/1ioLNf

    When you have a Twitter issue, check with support for a solution, and start with the known issues page: http://help.twitter.com/forums/31935/entries

  2. mikecane says:

    That sounds good as theory. But I’ve contacted Support. You know what the result was? My inquiry being deleted and no response given or even acknowledgment that I had complained.

  3. Twitter_Tips says:

    That happened to me once also, and has happened to many people. Personally, I found out why and got good support afterwards, and tweeted to many people why that happens sometimes.

    But having that happen and not knowing why is certainly justification for thinking Twitter support sucks. (Many times it was an email confirmation problem in the past.)

    However, I’m referring to the known issues support forum. Reading/adding a comment there is the best first place to start, rather than create a ticket.

    Very recently Twitter has added a bunch of public-facing support people. Not relevant to past issues, but worth knowing. Good people to contact include @Delbius, @Charles, @Lukester, @Laura, @edgutman

    Because Twitter support HAS sucked in the past, and people haven’t know where to turn, I’ve always responded to any Twitter issues people write me about.

  4. Mark Coker says:

    Mike, from within Twitter your @s to me are still invisible. I only found your @ re this post via echofon

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