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August 05, 2010

Look Out, Twitter Might Put Your Account "On Notice"

Today, by all accounts, managing the massive number of users Twitter has seen flocking to the service has been a challenge for the company's relatively small (but growing) support team. As you can imagine, the number of requests to eliminate spam, stop abusive behavior, or reopen locked out accounts is likely tremendous, and that's not even getting into the challenge of getting one's account verified, a rare privilege for a select few non-celebrities.

Practically the only time you see the service's support team pop up is if an account is disabled. It's possible a new process is being put in place to provide a warning to users who have stepped out of line, putting them "on notice". A new account, called @twitteronnotice, says cryptically "You're On Notice!", featuring an avatar of Uncle Sam glaringly pointing his finger in your direction. The account even calls itself "Minus One", a common Internet tally for somebody or something being modded down by the community. (e.g. +1 and -1)

Uncle Sam Says You're On Notice, Twitter Style!

Get enough negative karma associated with your account, and you might see your account go on notice. While no public details are yet available for this private account, it could be a way for the company to try and avoid user attrition through aggressive account deletions, and put accounts in something of a holding pattern for violating the terms of service.

The account follows an interesting mix of Twitter employees, including Troy Holden (@troy), from the Support team, Jillian West (@jillyface), a business analyst at Twitter, Timothy Yip (@tyip) legal counsel, and Matt Graves (@mgrooves) on the communications team. That team, with representatives on legal and support to enforce the rules, and business and comm to handle any fallout, looks like a good group to pow-wow and decide just what activity and what people will go on notice. As mentioned in the other story from tonight, @twitteronnotice is also connected to @twittershoutout, so it's not all bad news.

As with the other story, I reached out tonight to Sean Garrett (@sg) in the Twitter communications department for clarification, and haven't heard back, so we may find out how the company plans to use this account as part of their support and rules enforcement process.