Twitter users banned if they tweet the word ‘Memphis’ in weird glitch

Twitter users could still browse Twitter, but couldn't post tweets, like or retweet other tweets, or follow other users for 12 hours

Twitter bug sees users BANNED if they tweet ‘Memphis’ after the word is mistakenly flagged by the app’s automated systems

  • Embarrassing glitch suspended the account of any user who tweeted the word
  • Users got a message that they violated rules against posting private information
  • Error was referenced by Olympique Lyonnais and NBA side Memphis Grizzlies

In one of the weirder social media glitches, Twitter users have been having their account suspended after simply tweeting the word ‘Memphis’.

Anyone who tweeted the name of the US city on Sunday received a message telling them they ‘violated Twitter’s rules against posting private information’. 

Offending users could still browse Twitter, but couldn’t post tweets, like or retweet other tweets, or follow other users for 12 hours.  

The social media giant has since apologised for the embarrassing glitch, blaming it on its automated detection systems.   

Twitter users could still browse Twitter, but couldn’t post tweets, like or retweet other tweets, or follow other users for 12 hours

In a statement to MailOnline, a Twitter spokesperson said: ‘There was a system issue impacting accounts that tweeted the word “Memphis”. 

‘The issue mistakenly requested that account owners delete those tweets and temporarily limited their account features. 

‘The affected accounts are now reinstated and this issue has been resolved.’ 

Twitter, which confirmed the problem late last night, wouldn’t specify why the word ‘Memphis’ in particular triggered the error. 

Twitter users have been posting screenshots of the error message, which read: ‘We’ve temporarily limited some of your account features.  

‘You may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express authorisation and permission.’ 

French football club Olympique Lyonnais teased Twitter about the bug by tweeting a photo of its midfielder Memphis Depay.  

The club’s official Twitter account said: ‘Hey, @Twitter – can we talk about him yet?’ 

US basketball team Memphis Grizzlies also referenced the problem on its Twitter account during its loss to Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night, by deliberately avoiding use of the word.   

US basketball team Memphis Grizzlies tweeted its coverage of the match against Oklahoma City Thunder without using the word to be on the safe side

US basketball team Memphis Grizzlies tweeted its coverage of the match against Oklahoma City Thunder without using the word to be on the safe side

French football club Olympique Lyonnais posted a photo of its midfielder Memphis Depay

French football club Olympique Lyonnais posted a photo of its midfielder Memphis Depay

Twitter’s botched automated detection system reportedly only detected the word in the body of tweets, meaning usernames were unaffected. 

The official Twitter Support account said just after 11pm UK time on Sunday night that the issue had been fixed.

‘A number of accounts that Tweeted the word ‘Memphis’ were temporarily limited due to a bug,’ it said. 

Twitter wouldn't specify why the word 'memphis in particular'

Twitter, which confirmed the problem late last night, wouldn’t specify why the word ‘Memphis’ in particular triggered the error

‘It’s been fixed and the accounts have now been restored. We’re sorry this happened.’

One Twitter user replied suggesting the inadvertent error should become a regular feature just for fun. 

They said: ‘Please choose a random banned word for each day. It would be hilarious.’

WHAT IS TWITTER’S POLICY ON HATE SPEECH?

Twitter says it does not tolerate behaviour that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence other social network users.

Twitter users that violate these rules could find their content deleted, or their access to the account suspended by the social network.

What does Twitter forbid?

According to the company, it will remove any tweets that do the following —

  • Threaten physical violence
  • Promote attacks on the basis of their race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease 
  • References to mass murder, violent events, or specific means of violence in which such groups are the primary targets or victims
  • Incites fear about a certain protected group
  • Repeated use of non-consensual slurs, epithets, racist and sexist tropes
  • Content designed to degrade a specific user     

Twitter users can target individuals or specific groups in a number of manners, for example using the @ mention feature, or tagging a photo. 

How does Twitter enforce these rules?

According to the company, the first thing it does whenever an account or tweet is flagged as inappropriate is check the context.

Twitter says: ‘some Tweets may seem to be abusive when viewed in isolation, but may not be when viewed in the context of a larger conversation.

‘While we accept reports of violations from anyone, sometimes we also need to hear directly from the target to ensure that we have proper context.’

Twitter says the total number of reports received around an individual post or account does not impact whether or not something will be removed.

However, it could help Twitter prioritise the order in which it looks through flagged tweets and accounts.

What happens if you violate Twitter’s policy? 

The consequences for violating our rules will vary depending on the severity of the violation and the person’s previous record of violations, Twitter says. 

The penalties range from requesting a user voluntarily remove an offending tweet, to suspending an entire account. 

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