How I was banned from X… and got my account back!

Posted by Stéphane Nasser | September 12, 2023

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

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: 

  • X accounts for 25% of OpenVC traffic - hence 25% of our revenue
  • Rebuilding an account with 10k followers would take 12+ months
  • Even if I rebuild, 10 years of contacts and convos are lost forever
  • I was actually banned from using X, even with a new account!

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:

  • Use the X account of my company @OpenVC_ (1k followers)
  • Double down on LinkedIn to replace Twitter as an acquisition channel.
  • Explore new acquisition channels, especially paid ads

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:

  1. Is it ok to publish a post asking for replies in exchange for content? 
  2. Is it ok to send 100s of DMs manually to people who requested them? 

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.

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