Twitter, Cut It Out

The Twitter accounts impersonating me are small annoyances. Even the fact that one of them is almost certainly one of my stalkers (yes, that’s plural) is only mildly interesting. I don’t talk about the stalkers here–why give them the satisfaction, really? But there is something I do very much mind.

One of my followers very kindly notified me of an impersonator Twitter account. I decided to report it. Now, as you go through the reporting process, it’s stated that the other party in the dispute may be given access to the claim information. Fair enough, I figured, and hit “report”.

Here’s the data on the report (small bits redacted for obvious reasons):

no-username, Feb 07 09:43 PM:
== Reported Account Information ==
Reported user: *REDACTED*

== How is the account impersonating you? ==

Using the full name, common name, or legal alias of the impersonated party

Using a photo or image belonging to the impersonated party

Posting content as if they were the impersonated party

== Additional Information ==
Requesting that this account be suspended

== Wrapping up ==
Anything else? (optional): I am an author and I have stalkers. Please take this into account, and please consider verifying me so I don’t have to do this again.

== Reporter’s information ==
Your first and last name: Lilith Saintcrow
Your Email address: contact@lilithsaintcrow.com
Legal alias: None
Common nickname: Lili
Your Twitter username (optional): @lilithsaintcrow
== Required statements ==
I understand that Twitter may provide third parties, for example the reported user, with details of this report, such as the reported Tweet. Your contact information, like your email address, will not be disclosed.
I declare under penalty of perjury that all of the information provided above is accurate.
I understand that filing this report and submitting a photo identification will not result in my account being verified by Twitter.

But that’s only half of it. Here’s the form email I received:

Hello,

This email is to confirm that we have received your report regarding an account impersonating you on the Twitter platform. In order to process your report, we first must confirm your identity.

To confirm your identity, fax a copy of your valid government-issued photo ID (e.g., driver’s license, passport) to Twitter at 1-415-865-5405. Please write “Attention: Business and Platform Policy, Twitter Inc. – User Impersonation” at the top and include your ticket number (#*REDACTED*).

Once we have received your fax, we will review and process your report. We will not process your report until we receive your faxed ID.

Please note:

• If you are making a report regarding an account impersonating your family member on the Twitter platform, we first must confirm that you have permission to take action on behalf of your family member. Please fax documentation authorizing you to act on your family member’s behalf. (e.g. power of attorney, birth certificate, documents showing parental/guardianship rights of minor children), AND a faxed copy of your valid photo ID (e.g. driver’s license or passport).

• If you are reporting an account that is not using the name that appears on your government-issued photo ID, you must also include documentation demonstrating that the name used by the account you’re reporting is associated with you (e.g., proof of registration of your trade name or pseudonym).

• We must be able to see your full name and image on the faxed photo ID, so double-check to make sure you’re sending a clear copy. 1-415-865-5405 is a United States number; if you’re faxing your ID from outside the United States, be sure to include the appropriate international dialing code.

• If a fax machine is unavailable, you can send a fax from your computer for free through third-party services such as FaxZero (http://faxzero.com/), Popfax (http://www.popfax.com/), or efax (http://www.efax.com/). Please do not reply to this email with a copy of your ID.

• If you have previously filed reports about impersonation accounts from this email address and faxed a copy of your government-issued photo ID to Twitter as part of that process, respond to this email with that information (and, if possible, the ticket number associated with the previous report).

• Twitter allows parody, commentary, and fan accounts; if an account is in full compliance with our policies, it is not considered impersonation. For more information, see this help page: http://support.twitter.com/entries/106373.

If you are not attempting to report an account impersonating you on the Twitter platform, please see the following links for resources you may find helpful:

• Questions or requests regarding an inactive username: https://support.twitter.com/forms/general?subtopic=inactive_username

• Reports involving your brand or trademark: https://support.twitter.com/forms/trademark

• Reports of someone using your email address to create a Twitter account: https://support.twitter.com/articles/110202

• Appealing an account suspension: https://support.twitter.com/forms/general?subtopic=suspended

• Reporting an account compromise or that you’ve been hacked: https://support.twitter.com/forms/hacked

Thank you,

Twitter Trust & Safety

————————————————-
Your ticket number: #*REDACTED*

What jumped out at me here was this: it’s stated clearly that the other party, or really any other party, can be given information about the claim by Twitter. That information includes a scan of my driver’s license. Um, no, I don’t want any stalker getting their hands on that. Seriously. Would you?

Here was my reply:

Dear Twitter,

Naturally I wish this situation resolved as soon as possible. However, sending you a copy of my driver’s license when you clearly state that this impersonating party may be given access to information about the claim worries me. I cannot be entirely sure, but I suspect this is one of my stalkers, and the last thing I need is for him to be given my license number and vitals.

Alternatively, I’d like to suggest that you look at my website:

www.lilithsaintcrow.com

My Facebook and Facebook fan page:

https://www.facebook.com/lilithsaintcrow

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lilith-Saintcrow/172118402032

My Goodreads page:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/131208.Lilith_Saintcrow

My Amazon Author Pages:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BLOSOU

http://www.amazon.com/Lili-St.-Crow/e/B002TN3418/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

These should suffice as proof that my Twitter account, which is clearly displayed on many of these sites is being impersonated by someone who has also taken my userpic to do so. Again, I offer this as an alternative because I have stalkers/harassers, I suspect the impersonator is one of them (due to the content of one or two of the Tweets) and I do not under any circumstances want this person to have access to my personal information. I cannot trust that Twitter will not make a scan of my driver’s license available to this person, so I ask you to please consider this alternative route.

Best,

Lilith Saintcrow

— Lilith Saintcrow
contact@lilithsaintcrow.com

Days went by. No response. Until this morning:

How, Feb 19 08:34 AM:
Hello,

We need to confirm your identity in order to further investigate this report. Please provide a faxed copy of a valid photo ID (i.e., driver’s license, passport) within 48 hours of receiving this email.

Please fax the document to Twitter at 1-415-865-5405. This is a United States number, so be sure to include the appropriate international dialing code if you’re sending from outside the United States.

Include your ticket number (#*REDACTED*) and write “Attention: Business & Platform Policy – User Impersonation, Twitter Inc. -@How.” We need to be able to see your full name and photo on the faxed ID, so please try to send a legible copy. This information will be kept confidential, and will be deleted once we have used it to confirm your identity.

For security reasons, we are only able to accept this information via fax; our systems strip incoming email attachments. If a fax machine is unavailable, you can send a fax from your computer for free through third-party services such as FaxZero (http://faxzero.com/), Popfax (http://www.popfax.com/), or efax (http://www.efax.com/).

Thanks,

How
Twitter Trust & Safety

Thanks for not even reading my response, guys. So what am I supposed to believe? That any information I give will be kept confidential, or that Twitter reserves the right to give a scan of my driver’s license to a potential stalker? Is this a risk I’m supposed to take and trust Twitter’s good faith? Seriously?

If Twitter wants to have the reputation of being a stalker’s best friend, they’re doing a damn good job.

ETA: I should probably add this, from my Facebook wall: “The problem is, first they say they reserve the right to share the information, then they say “oh no, THAT’S kept confidential” and expect me to believe both? Or that if somehow said stalker gets my vitals, Twitter won’t cover their own ass with the “Well, you accepted the conditions when you made the report, too bad so sad.”

ETA: I woke up February 20th to a short email from Twitter Support, notifying me that the impersonating account had been suspended:

How, Feb 20 02:55 AM:
Hello,

Thank you for providing this information. We have removed the reported profile from circulation due to violation of the Twitter Rules regarding impersonation. You can review the Twitter Rules here:

https://twitter.com/rules

Thanks,

How
Twitter Trust & Safety

Maybe it was the public indignation, maybe it was the kind person who forwarded me the contact info for an actual real live person in Twitter who works with publishers, maybe someone finally actually read my reply. I don’t know, I’m just relieved I can get back to writing stories.

Thank you, everyone, for your support. I really appreciate it, more than I can say. Bless you.

  • @shthisisme

    If “trust and safety” were interested in doing their jobs, and the safety of their account holders, you’d be able to talk to a human about this.

  • OrdoExtraho

    May I suggest going through the effort of creating a legally registered brand and incorporating all your social media identities through said brand which to my uneducated reckoning make all claims to companies such as twitter legal claims to which they would respond with the rules of C.T.A (Cover Thine Ass) and perform said desired action I realise that this idea is very much a easier said than done thing but given the primary goal keeping you private particulars private it may be in the long run more efficient than expecting companies such as twitter who place more value on not rocking the boat (not doing anything) than doing the ethical thing (choosing between one random user and another) as I don’t see the law catching up to technology any-time soon and requiring them to do something off their own bat. bending existing laws to find solutions to technology created problems (future problems according to law makers because anything to do with technology and law always seems to end up on the too hard basket as far as they are concerned) I trying to think of an appropriate saying about bending with the wind or the flow of the river but none come to mind properly beyond this I lack the words to empathise good luck with which ever path you follow