What to Do When You Get Your Twitter Account Locked

Having your Twitter account suspended, limited, or locked is the worst

Illustration of two cartoon hands holding mobile phones with locked and unlocked symbols.

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Having your Twitter account locked can be equally frustrating and confusing due to the different types of account restrictions and the ambiguous nature of the lock itself.

Twitter may lock an account due to suspicious behavior by the user, while other times a Twitter account may be locked to protect it from a potential hack or cyber attack. Fortunately, there are various ways to quickly unlock Twitter accounts that have been locked, but first you’ll need to identify what sort of restrictions have been placed on your account.

Locked, Limited, Restricted, and Suspended Twitter Accounts

The Twitter social network has a range of ways to restrict access to user accounts, each with varying degrees of severity. Here are the most-common restrictions Twitter uses and what causes them to activate.

  • Locked Twitter account: When an account is locked, Twitter forcefully logs you out on all of your devices due to suspicious behavior or security concerns. This can be caused by repeated attempts to log in with the incorrect password, too many third-party services connected to your account, or account activity that’s higher than usual.
  • Limited Twitter account: If you violate Twitter’s rules or are too active, the company may place limits on your account that will prevent you from tweeting, retweeting, and liking. Previously published tweets from a limited account will also be hidden from search results and will only be visible to current followers during this period. Limits are usually automated to help prevent spam on the network but Twitter staff can also activate them.
  • Restricted Twitter account: "Restricted" is often used to describe limited Twitter accounts, but there's no real difference between the two.
  • Suspended Twitter account: This is the equivalent of being banned on Twitter. Sometimes a suspension is temporary and can be appealed, but usually it’s permanent. Twitter accounts are typically suspended for spam, fake news, being a fake account, impersonation, harassment, being hacked, and violating Twitter rules.

How to Unlock a Twitter Account

If you’re locked out of Twitter, you’re usually presented with a message when you try to log in explaining why it was locked and how you can unlock it.

You're unable to log into your Twitter account until it’s unlocked.

In addition to the message within the Twitter app and website, you should also receive a notification of the lock via the email address and mobile phone number associated with your account.

If you can’t see the email in your inbox, make sure to check the spam folder. Outlook’s Focused Inbox setting may also be hiding the email from you.

The notification message will ask you to do one of the following:

  • Reset your password by clicking on a link in the message.
  • Enter a PIN number that they’ll send to your associated mobile phone number after clicking on a link in the message.
  • A combination of the above.

While it can seem dramatic, a locked Twitter account isn’t usually something to worry about and the entire unlock process only takes a minute or two to finish.

How to Fix a Limited or Restricted Twitter Account

Because the degree of a Twitter account restriction can range from mild to serious, the appropriate response will vary.

An example of a mild violation would be tweeting or liking too much, while an example of a more serious violation would be sending death threats, cyberstalking, impersonation, and partaking in a targeted harassment campaign.

No matter the cause of the restriction, Twitter will always communicate with you via a direct message and email to explain why your account has been limited and what actions you need to take.

Here are some examples of actions that are usually requested of restricted users:

  • Verify your email.
  • Verify your phone number or add one to your account.
  • Delete the tweets associated with the rules that were violated.
  • Change your password.
  • Submit an appeal using this official form.

In most cases, it’s best to be remorseful and apologetic and not defensive or angry when communicating with Twitter staff during the appeal process.

What to Do With a Suspended Twitter Account

Having your Twitter account suspended is usually the end result of a major violation of the social network’s rules. However, mistakes can be made, and it's sometimes possible to get a Twitter account reinstated.

To prevent your account from being suspended or limited due to suspicion of impersonation or being a fake account, make sure to associate one email address and phone number with your Twitter account and link to it from your official website if you have one.

Some suspended people will be presented with actions they can take to reinstate their suspended accounts when they try to log into Twitter. These actions can vary by user and usually involve confirming your identity via email or phone number.

If no options are provided after trying to log in, you'll need to submit an appeal.

How to Delete a Locked Twitter Account

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to delete a Twitter account that’s been suspended, locked, or limited. The only way to delete a locked Twitter account is to get it unlocked, then deactivate it using the usual methods.

Tips for Preventing Future Twitter Account Locks

Here are some tips to help reduce the risk of having your Twitter account limited, locked, or suspended in the future:

  • Add mobile number: Add a mobile phone number to your Twitter account. This will help prove you’re a real person and can also be used to reactivate your account if it’s ever locked in the future.
  • Use a Twitter avatar: Add a Twitter avatar and fill in your profile information with true details on who you are. Also add a link to your personal or professional website. All of this will reduce the risk of others reporting your account as being a fake account.
  • Set limitations: Don’t follow more than 400 accounts, send more than 2,400 tweets, or write more than 1,000 DMs per day. Note that these numbers are for the entire day and you should focus on the average hourly limits, which are following 16 accounts, tweeting 100 tweets, and writing 41 DMs.
  • Don’t call out other users: This can be interpreted as harassment even if the other person is incredibly famous.
  • Try to remain calm: Having heated arguments on Twitter can easily devolve into insults and threats which are against the Twitter rules.
  • Don't use auto-follow programs.
  • Use Twitter like Twitter: Remember that Twitter is a private platform with its own standards and the way you communicate elsewhere may not always be appropriate for the social network and its users.
  • Don’t lie about your age: Twitter will lock or suspend an account if it thinks that it was created when the owner was under 13 years of age so be honest with your age and don’t change your birth date in your profile. If you say you’re 21 years old now but your Twitter profile is 9 years old, you may get in trouble.