I discovered this morning that Twitter had suspended the Fauxlowers app, making it impossible to join, log into, or otherwise use your account. The most likely cause: complaints about welcome DMs from people who fauxlow too many people on Twitter.

Welcome DMs have been optional since just after this site launched, and they’ve always been customizable. Yes, they were turned on by default, but the checkbox to turn them off was on a short form that each member had to complete and submit before their account became active. So the welcome DMs had been authorized by those they were sent for. (Yes, I understand that some people only looked at the first item on the form before submitting it — sorry folks, I’m not going to accept blame for that. The option was never hidden or obfuscated in any way.)

So why would someone complain about the welcome DMs? Because they’re following way too many stinkin’ people. Thus they get more welcome DMs than they want.

Uh, folks. When you open the communication lines, something might come through. If you’re getting more messages than you want, stop opening your in-box to so many people. Twitter is a social site, not your business mailing list manager. (I have no problem with people using it to broadcast to potential customers since it’s a strictly opt-in site. Just don’t expect it to be limited to “ads go out, money comes in”. If you follow people, DMs come in too.)

Here’s what’s changed on Fauxlowers.com today:

People are going to blame others for problems of their own making — nothing I can do about that. So I’ve made a few changes and asked Twitter to reactivate the app. (Note that I’m acting based on my best guess at why we got deactivated — as far as I know, Twitter never sent any sort of notification or explanation).

  • I’ve removed the standard welcome DM feature completely. From now on, only upgraded members can send welcome DMs, and there’s currently no way to dynamically include your current Fauxlower ratio in the DM.
  • Upgrade tweets are limited to one every 3 hours (I noticed that some people were tweeting 5 or 6 upgrade tweets in rapid succession, which I imagine could look spammy to some of their followers.)

Hopefully we’ll get reactivated and our services will resume again quickly.