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Monday, May 17, 2021

Explained: When does Twitter ‘permanently suspend’ an account, like it did with Kangana Ranaut?

Twitter says when it decides to permanently suspend an account they will notify the user about the abuse violations. They also “explain which policy or policies they have violated and which content was in violation.”

Written by Shruti Dhapola , Edited by Explained Desk | Chandigarh |
Updated: May 11, 2021 8:38:56 am
Kangana Ranaut, TwitterTwitter has ‘permanently suspended’ Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut’s account after she tweeted about the post-poll violence in Bengal and tweeted what appeared like a call to violence. (Express Photo by Oinam Anand)

Twitter has ‘permanently suspended’ Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut’s account after she tweeted about the post-poll violence in Bengal and tweeted what appeared like a call to violence.

In a statement, the company said, “We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm. The referenced account has been permanently suspended for repeated violations of Twitter Rules specifically our Hateful Conduct policy and Abusive Behaviour policy. We enforce the Twitter Rules judiciously and impartially for everyone on our service.”

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It should be noted that Twitter has previously permanently suspended the account of former US President Donald Trump for his tweets when rioting took place at the US Capitol.

But when does Twitter ‘permanently suspend’ an account? We take a quick look at Twitter’s policies on the subject.

‘Permanent Suspension’

According to Twitter’s policy page, this is the company’s “most severe enforcement action.” Not only is the account removed from global view, the violator is not “be allowed to create new accounts.” This means that Kangana cannot return to the platform with a new account.

Twitter says when it decides to permanently suspend an account they will notify the user about the abuse violations. They also “explain which policy or policies they have violated and which content was in violation.”

But can Kangana appeal against this suspension?

Yes, Twitter does let violators appeal ‘permanent suspensions’ given it is the harshest punishment. According to Twitter’s support page, those whose accounts have been impacted can file an appeal “through the platform interface or by filing a report.” If the suspension is found valid on appeal, then Twitter will respond to the “appeal with information on the policy that the account has violated,” according to its support page.

What other actions could Twitter have taken against Kangana’s account?

Typically abusive tweets can be hidden for a particular country or Twitter can even reduce their reach. But with Kangana, it chose to do more.

Twitter could have placed the account in a read-only mode, but this applies only to ‘otherwise healthy accounts’ which appear to be in the middle of an abusive episode. In such cases, Twitter can limit the account’s ability to tweet, retweet or link content. The person can however, use direct messages, when an account is placed in this mode.

“The duration of this enforcement action can range from 12 hours to 7 days, depending on the nature of the violation,” according to the support page.

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Sometimes Twitter will ask for owners to verify the account to ensure that violators “do not abuse anonymity” on the platform to harass others. In this case, Twitter might demand a phone number or email address to verify ownership. Twitter says this can help them in identifying “violators who are operating multiple accounts for abusive purposes and take action on such accounts.”

But in Kangana’s case it appears that she was repeatedly warned by the platform over her tweets. Plus hers was a verified account with over 3 million followers, and not an anonymous troll account. Given the repeated warnings, it appears that the latest tweet was a final straw, which pushed Twitter to take its harshest decision with regard to her account.

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