Dear Mr. Musk,
I know you are a busy man these days, so I’ll try to be quick. I have just one simple request to ask today:
Can I have my Twitter account back, please?
I hear you’ve been in a giving mood, reinstating the accounts of right-wing figures such as Roger Stone, Laura Loomer, and Project Veritas in recent days.
My issue is a little 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 foment an insurrection or spread online hate.
I just want to tweet about the Patriots’ red zone issues and where Tom Brady is going to play next year.
The background: I have been an avid user of the service since 2009, but have been Twitter-less since last Saturday night. My verified @Benvolin account got hacked, and the hacker changed the e-mail address associated with the account, so I can’t get back in. The hack changed my profile pic and retweeted a bunch of spam about NFTs on Saturday. Now the account has been sitting dormant for five days and counting.
A similar hack happened to me a couple of times in the recent past, before you bought the service. Back then, the Globe had a team of direct contacts at Twitter who could help us when an issue arrived. The two previous times I got 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 e-mailed my old contact on Saturday night, and the e-mail bounced back. Apparently, all of the Globe’s contacts at Twitter got swept out as part of the layoffs. My Globe colleagues have been trying to locate someone at Twitter, but with no success.
So I’m locked out. And apparently I’m not going to get back in. I filed a ticket with Twitter Support on Saturday night, but didn’t hear back. I filed a second ticket on Tuesday, and received this answer on Thursday:
We’re writing to let you know that we’re unable to verify you as the account owner. We know this is disappointing to hear, but we can’t assist you further with accessing your account.
If you know which e-mail address is associated with the account, and you no longer have access to that e-mail, please contact your e-mail provider for assistance.
For privacy reasons, we can’t provide any information about this account’s e-mail address.
You’re more than welcome to create a new account to get back onto Twitter.
Please do not respond to this e-mail as replies to this account are not monitored.
Well, that doesn’t seem right. My account has been verified for, like, a decade. I built up a following of 86,249 all on my own. I’m a real person, I swear. Check the @Benvolin timeline. It’s pretty easy to figure out when the hack took place.
To be honest, it has been somewhat liberating to not be able to tweet for the last week. It’s nice not having 50 people call me an idiot every day. Interestingly, the articles I wrote this past week are still getting a similar number of clicks without my Twitter promotion, suggesting that Twitter doesn’t drive a ton of traffic to my articles. Yet, it must be noted, Twitter gets my content for free.
But I genuinely would 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 last decade to promote my work and build a brand. It’s also a great feedback loop – once you mute and block all of 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 factoids and quotes that wouldn’t make it into a column. Telling my wife that the Ravens’ two quarterbacks are named Huntley and Hundley isn’t as fun as tweeting it out to 86,000 people.
I miss my account even more for consuming news. Twitter has been a game-changer in that regard. Why visit dozens of websites every day when I can just log onto Twitter and have The New York Times, Denver Broncos, and former NBA player Rex Chapman delivering me the news all in one place? I had to create a burner account over the weekend just to be able to follow the top NFL accounts in order to do my job.
(You’ll be interested to know that despite not tweeting from my burner account, I picked up three followers last week. Rebecca, Inez ,and Mary seem very nice, and I wish them success in their webcam endeavors.)
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 takes on Josh Allen.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Ben Volin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.