On August 17, I was permanently banned from X/Twitter.
On August 29, twelve days later, I was back on X.
Let me tell you WTF happened, including my email exchanges with the X staff.
PS: You can react directly on X .
Table of Contents
Act 1: The ban
On Aug 17, my X account suddenly displayed an unusual message.
I went to my mailbox, and sure enough, an email was waiting for me.
X drives 25% of our traffic at OpenVC.app.
I've also been on Twitter for the past 10 years with that account. I have countless posts, conversations, and contacts locked in there.
Things didn't look good.
Act 2: The appeal
In the past few weeks, I had been increasingly active on X. One of my posts had gone semi-viral the week before and generated hundreds of replies, to which I replied with hundreds of DMs.
I suspected this was the reason for the ban, so I clicked the "Appeal" link and exposed the facts to the X team. Here's my email.
It was 10:40 pm and I was heading to bed. But as I laid to rest, I started to realize some daunting facts:
That last point was pretty bad. X is the major hangout for US founders and investors - our main audience. Being banned from X would be a serious blow for us.
So I crawled out of bed at 1am, dug deep into the X Rules, and wrote the best follow-up email I could in a desperate attempt to salvage my account.
Keep in mind that at this point, I didn't know WHY I had been banned exactly. So I had to cast a broad net.
Then came the wait.
Act 3: The wait
The next few days were unpleasant.
X had become a daily routine for me. Post ideas, engage with people, generate leads. It was productive and it was fun. Now, everything had come to a halt.
The traffic/revenue drop, especially, was a problem. I needed to find a solution quickly.
Here's the plan B I devised:
However, it was hard to find the motivation to act on this plan.
In my head, I still held onto the hope that my X account would be reinstated. As we say in French, "j'avais le cul entre deux chaises" and it was uncomfortable (feel free to Google translate).
During that time, I also thought about the concept of "platform risk" - which I had always dismissed as "tomorrow's problem for tomorrow's me". That day had come.
Anyway, one week had gone and no reply from my appeal…
On August 25, I happened to have a call scheduled with Thibauld, the CEO of Fairmint. He kindly offered to post a supporting message on X, and I relayed it via the OpenVC newsletter.
We got a massive amount of support from it - thanks everyone, this meant a lot!
I also received shady propositions from supposedly "X insiders" to reinstate my account for as little as $5k. What a bargain, right?
Act 4: The liberation
Eventually, and with no warning whatsoever, an email from X landed in my inbox on August 29.
First, a celebratory tweet.
Then, the need to understand.
For the first time, the issue was named: "Using non-API based forms of automation, such as scripting the Twitter website". That's funny, because I never used any form of automation on X. No tool, no extension, no script, no API. Nothing.
I did DM hundreds of people manually. Maybe it looks like a bot to X?
I don't know. I'm glad to have my account back. But I'm also frustrated.
To X management
I understand the need to regulate bad actors. Nobody likes a spammer.
But good users shouldn't be threatened with unclear guidelines.
If someone from X reads this post (wink wink @elonmusk), you guys should clarify at least two points:
Your definitions of "Platform manipulation" and "Spam" are broad and leave room for arbitrary enforcement.
You cannot punish users when a common practice suddenly works too well for your taste.
What if my next tweet goes viral? What if I DM too many people? How many is too many? Or should I use API-based automation, like X's last email seems to suggest?
I cannot make X my main social media presence with a sword hanging above my head.
We need clear guidelines if you want this platform to thrive.