Dear Elon Musk: Can I get my Twitter account back?
I hear you’ve been in a rewarding mood, reinstating the accounts of right-wing figures like Roger Stone, Laura Loomer, and Project Veritas these past few days.
My problem is a bit different. I’m not here to cause trouble. I’m not going to tweet (too much) about your unorthodox leadership of Twitter or your definition of “free speech.” I’m not going to try to incite a riot or spread hate online.
I just want to tweet about the Patriots’ red zone issues and where Tom Brady will be playing next year.
The background: I’ve been an avid user of the service since 2009, but have been Twitter-free since last Saturday night. My verified @Benvolin account was hacked, and the hacker changed the email address associated with the account, so I can’t get back in. The hack changed my profile picture and retweeted a bunch of spam about NFTs on Saturday. Now the account has been dormant for five days and counting.
A similar hack happened to me a couple of times recently, before purchasing the service. Back then, Globe had a team of direct contacts on Twitter who could help us when a problem arose. The previous two times I was hacked, I was able to get my account back within 24 hours.
But, ah, there’s a problem this time. I think I read last month that you fired or otherwise reduced anywhere from half to two-thirds of Twitter’s workforce of 7,500 employees. I emailed my old contact on Saturday night and the email bounced back. Apparently, all of Globe’s contacts on Twitter were wiped out as part of the layoffs. My Globe colleagues have tried to find someone on Twitter, but without success.
So I’m banned. And apparently I’m not getting back in. I submitted a ticket to Twitter Support on Saturday night but haven’t heard back. I submitted a new ticket on Tuesday and received this response on Thursday:
We are writing to let you know that we cannot verify you as the account owner. We know this is disappointing to hear, but we are unable to assist you further in accessing your account.
If you know the email address associated with the account and you no longer have access to that email, please contact your email provider for assistance.
For privacy reasons, we cannot provide any information about this account’s email address.
You are more than welcome to create a new account to return to Twitter.
Please do not reply to this email as replies to this account are not monitored.
Well, that doesn’t seem right. My account has been verified for a decade. I built a following of 86,249 on my own. I’m a real person, I swear. Check the @Benvolin timeline. It is quite easy to find out when the hack took place.
To be honest, not being able to tweet for the past week has been somewhat liberating. It’s nice not to have 50 people calling me an idiot every day. Interestingly, the articles I wrote in the last week still get a similar number of clicks without my Twitter campaign, which suggests that Twitter isn’t driving a ton of traffic to my articles. Still, it should be noted, Twitter gets my content for free.
But I’d really like to get my account back and get back to my little corner of NFL Twitter. The service has been a valuable tool over the past decade to promote my work and build a brand. It’s also a great feedback loop – once you’ve muted and blocked all the trolls, Twitter can sometimes serve as a valuable fact-checker.
And I miss being part of the conversation. Part of the fun of the job is being able to tweet out little facts and quotes that wouldn’t make it into a column. Telling my wife that the Ravens’ two quarterbacks are named Huntley and Hundley is not as funny as tweeting it out to 86,000 people.
I miss my account even more to consume news. Twitter has been a game-changer in that regard. Why visit dozens of websites every day when I can just log on to Twitter and have New York Times, Denver Broncosand earlier NBA player Rex Chapman deliver me the news in one place? I had to create a burner account over the weekend just to be able to follow the top NFL accounts to do my job.
(You’ll be interested to know that despite not tweeting from my burner account, I gained three followers last week. Rebecca, Inez and Mary seem really nice and I wish them the best of luck with their webcam.)
So please, Mr. Musk, I would really appreciate it if you could help me get back into my account. You can’t let a hacker hijack it. It’s my account. The world needs my take on Josh Allen.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Ben Volin can be reached at [email protected]