*UPDATED 10/09/2019 - 17:28 GMT | **12/09/2019 - 14:47 GMT - ***24/09/2019 - 12:16 GMT | Further to the -now permanent- suspension of my @alekboyd verified Twitter account, I would like to address some of the issues that have occurred thus far.
1) Twitter verified my @alekboyd account on 27 September 2016. The only reason I insisted in getting verification was the amount of impostor accounts with my name and pictures that were being created regularly in Twitter, after break into my flat in London, theft of laptops, threats to my children and online defamation campaign that ensued. These accounts were used to spread all kinds of baseless information about me. When Twitter finally granted verification to my account, the impostors basically disappeared.
2) I have had a number of temporary suspensions from Twitter in the past. The most recent one, of which I was informed on 27 August 2019, allegedly relates to a thread of tweets I posted with regards to a request for information, and subsequent email exchange, that I had with Vanessa Neumann, Juan Guaidó's Ambassador to the UK. Twitter claimed that my account was in violation of the following rules:
- Violating our rules against posting private information;
- publishing people’s private information without consent;
- threatening to hack Twitter or other platforms in order to obtain someone's private information; and/or;
- posting intimate photos or videos taken or distributed without the subject's consent;
- Your account has been suspended and will not be restored because it was found to be violating Twitter's Terms of Service (https://twitter.com/tos), specifically the Twitter Rules (https://twitter.com/rules) against using hateful or sensitive content in your profile.
A previous temporary suspension (23 April 2019) was due to my posting details about the flamboyant wedding of Javier Alvarado's daughter in Madrid, a wedding that was to be paid with the monies Mr Alvarado stole from Venezuela. Alvarado was subsequently arrested, in Madrid, in connection to a massive corruption scandal.
Going further back (24 March 2014), someone complained my posting detailed information about Eduardo Capriles (connected to Armando "Coco" Capriles), and how he had purchased a multimillion dollar apartment in Miami. The address and name of Capriles could be found in the public domain in Miami property records, and it was the source of my tweet.
3) Since I did not agree with Twitter's interpretation of the alleged violation to their Terms of Service (ToS), I did not delete the tweet about meetings in Madrid between Gustavo Guaidó and Alejandro Betancourt that had caused the current suspension. I was never given the chance to argue why I was in disagreement. The first notification I received from Twitter that my account was suspended is dated 27 August 2019 at 20:33. On 29 August 2019, I got a reply from Twitter (03:13) that said:
"Your account has been suspended and will not be restored because it was found to be violating the Twitter Terms of Service, specifically the Twitter Rules against posting another person’s private information."
That is, it took Twitter less than 48 hours to move from locking my account to permanent suspension, without even allowing me to argue my case.
4) Since 29 August 2019 I have sent numerous requests to Twitter, via its suspended account platform. These have been data requests, i.e. asking Twitter to allow me to download my account's content and data. Every single one has been replied with a template, which states reasons mentioned in previous point. It has been impossible, as of this writing, to establish any form of meaningful communication with Twitter. I can not reply to emails received from firstname.lastname@example.org, with case number/s generated by suspended accounts appeals platform, for that inbox is not monitored. This has resulted in various different case numbers, all related to same data requests, all equally disregarded by template reply as pointed above.
5) I have also filed requests for account information via another platform. These have been replied with yet more requests from Twitter for further information, i.e. my government-issued photo ID, what data I am requesting specifically, and details associated to my account.
I am yet to receive anything in this respect. *I have already received the first reply (Case# 0125798664 with same template as in point 3), which does not even address my account information request. Is this even legal, under existing European GDPR directive?
6) I have also sent, via recorded delivery to Twitter's HQs in Dublin (Twitter International Company, c/o Trust & Safety - Legal Policy, One Cumberland Place, Fenian Street, D02 AX07, Dublin, Ireland) two GDPR data requests (at least one was received). What I have been able to learn is that under GDPR rules, Twitter has got to send a reply within 30 days of receiving such requests.
A GDPR request letter, via recorded and signed for delivery, was sent to V. Gadde, Twitter Uk Ltd, 1st Floor, 20 Air Street, London, W1B 5AN. It was received as per Royal Mail records.
Two requests were sent via fax, to Twitter's Trust & Safety - Legal Policy at 1-415-222-9958. Both were successfully delivered.
No reply, either in hard copy or in writing has been received as of this writing.
** A data preservation request was sent 11/09/2019 at about 14:00 GMT to Twitter's Data Protection Officer, via its online platform. No acknowledgement or reply has been received.
7) I have also sent emails (asking to be allowed to download my data) to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
No reply has been received as of this writing.
8) As soon as my verified account was suspended, a new impostor account (Alek_Boyd_) appeared. This impostor was using my name, pictures, and copied text from my profile, only this time no one was "complaining" about a "breach of ToS" and my selfie and picture with the Dalai Lama had become acceptable. This impostor included an email address very similar to mine at protonmail, to try and dupe my readers / followers, and Twitter, to communicate with him pretending to be me. I reached out, via Twitter DM from the Twitter account I am currently using and seen in the left of this site (@infodi0), and asked whether he was a real person or a bot. The reply was chilling: "I am Alek Boyd, and you?".
9) I take that the reason behind the impostor's attempt to impersonate me is to get to my sources / informants. Considering what the thugs I have been exposing over the years did to my family and me, here in London, I really dread the thought of what my sources in Venezuela could suffer, if the thugs that are behind this attempt get to know who they are. Lives can be at risk here.
10) Another great concern is that the huge catalogue of evidence of corruption that I have posted on my Twitter account, since I registered at end of 2008, could be lost forever. I can imagine the glee of the subjects of my investigations at this prospect. Someone informed me yesterday that once Twitter decides to permanently suspend an account, its content could get purged from its servers in 30 days. I am desperately trying to either get my account's data before the 30 day period, or get Twitter to preserve its content, alas as of this writing I do not know whether I will be able to, given the sheer impossibility of establishing meaningful communications with Twitter.
11) I understand that Twitter has every right to disregard due process and suspend my account. Their house, their rules. What I don't get is:
- almost immediate escalation from temporary lock to permanent suspension;
- absolute disregard to even acknowledge my legitimate requests to be allowed to download my data, which, as per Twitter's own ToS, belongs to me;
- changing reasons for permanent suspension, including completely baseless allegations that I have threatened to "hack Twitter", or that my background picture with the Dalai Lama, selfie and text could be described as "hateful or sensitive content in your profile."
- failure to inform that refusal to delete allegedly offending tweet would result in immediate permanent suspension, without possibility of recovering / downloading data.
12) Twitter has abandoned all manner of impartiality by taking political positions in different parts of the world. That is also a prerogative that Twitter is entitled to have. But how about suspending an account that deals almost exclusively with reporting corruption in Venezuela and beyond, and refusing to hand over evidence of such corruption?
My account has a phenomenal track record in exposing thugs that end up indicted, charged, and arrested in different jurisdictions. Within the Venezuelan context it is unique in that regard. If I lose my data, not only Venezuela's corrupt will benefit, those in America -that Twitter seems to oppose- will benefit too. Just why would Twitter do this?
UPDATE 24/09/2019 - 12:16 GMT: Twitter emailed this morning with instructions to download data associated to my now defunct @alekboyd account. I proceeded with the download, only to realise that while content is there, tweets are in a .txt file, and images are in a separate folder. There's no index file, linking everything. Twitter used to include an index file with data requests. This means I have no immediate / easy way of replicating the timeline of my account in my localhost. Many of the 13,480 tweets that I ever posted contained pictures, that were uploaded to Twitter along with text. Alas rebuilding that would require getting Tweet ID associated with each picture file in images folder, then search corresponding text of Tweet ID in tweets.txt file. If there's anyone reading this that could advice on how to quickly rebuild my entire timeline on a localhost, as it appeared on Twitter, please do get in touch.
The second question I'd like to leave here is: my name isn't going to change in the foreseeable future, however I can't use my own name any longer for a Twitter account. Does anyone know how long does a given name associated to a suspended account remain out of bounds?
The way in which Twitter has behaved is appalling. No warning was ever given, no indication of consequences. It has a very biased approach to interpretation of their Terms of Service (ToS). Yesterday I was reading ToS, and under Safety alone, found that Twitter has allowed thugs who constantly attack me to breach their violence, terrorism/violent extremism, abuse/harassment, hateful conduct, suicide or self harm, and Sensitive media, including graphic violence and adult content policies. Repeatedly over the years. My private information -one of the reasons Twitter used to suspend my account- has also been posted regularly. Impersonators make regular use of Twitter, using my name and images, to "mislead, confuse, or deceive others", whole bots keep gaming the platform with completely spurious allegations of breaches that I may have incurred, about people who tend to end up in jail, charged, indicted, etc. Since suspension on 27th August, I have taken two more virtual scalps: Victor Vargas has all but lost control of his "financial group", and Javier Alvarado was charged in an unsealed superseding indictment over in Houston. It does not look very good on Twitter now to have forced me to delete a tweet about Alvarado back in March, does it?
@Twitter hi, in March this year my account was locked for posting about how Javier Alvarado was burning stolen funds in Spain. He’s just been charged by @TheJusticeDept in connection to a $1 billion corruption scheme. Any comments? https://t.co/WnyK5sNGIi
— alek boyd (@infodi0) September 16, 2019