Twitter had a crackdown on thousands of users by locking them out of their Twitter accounts. Many people claim this move to be a deliberate political crackdown (suspected Russian bot accounts). This led to an outcry among many users inspiring the hashtag #TwitterLockout.
Many Twitter users have complained about losing their followers on account of TwitterLockout. Locked-out users were asked to share their phone number with Twitter to regain access to their accounts.
Twitter responded to the outcry over conservative users’ accounts being blocked by saying its actions had no political skew and they were part of the company’s safety effort. Twitter replied to Verge stating:
“Twitter’s tools are apolitical, and we enforce our rules without political bias. As part of our ongoing work in safety, we identify suspicious account behaviors that indicate automated activity or violations of our policies around having multiple accounts, or abuse. We also take action on any accounts we find that violate our terms of service, including asking account owners to confirm a phone number so we can confirm a human is behind it. That’s why some people may be experiencing suspensions or locks. Note that when an account is locked and being challenged to provide a phone number, it is removed from follower counts until it provides a phone number. This is part of our ongoing, comprehensive efforts to make Twitter safer and healthier for everyone.”
Many conservatives have claimed that their accounts have been targeted specifically by Twitter. While many have reclaimed their accounts, many are still waiting.