Locked Out of Twitter and the Fear of Starting Over
About ten months ago something exceedingly unpleasant happened to me: my Yahoo email account and my Twitter account were simultaneously hacked by Nazi types. For a terrible fourteen hours or so I lost control of my Twitter feed. Instead of the usual shrill self-promotion and obscure jokes and pop culture references @Nathanrabin vomited forth racism, anti-semitism, homophobia and all-around bigotry.
It was, as you might imagine, a bit of a mind-fuck but after that extraordinary bit of bad luck I had a fair amount of good luck. Concerned followers and fans hit up Twitter to let them known hate-mongers had taken over my Twitter feed and were using it for their own nefarious ends. It took most of a very frustrating, headache-filled day but I was eventually able to regain control over both my email and my Twitter account.
I was grateful that my problem had been solved but getting hacked put the fear in me. Every time I logged onto Twitter or checked my emails some part of me worried that they would be hacked or corrupted and I’d find myself reliving that social media nightmare all over again.
To ensure that didn’t happen I did the three step authentication process for my phone on Twitter.
For about nine months nothing happened. Then one day about three weeks ago I got email alerts telling me that my Yahoo email and Twitter passwords had been changed. I did not change them so this set off red flags for me. Sure enough, I wasn’t able to log into either my email or my Twitter account.
I called Yahoo and they said that my account certainly been hacked but thankfully, for a mere one hundred and eighty dollars they’d be able to get me back control of my email account. Spending nearly two hundred dollars didn’t thrill me but I said yes because I desperately need my email and Twitter to work in order to make a living.
About a minute later the technician returned to tell me that, actually, the email account I’d been using almost exclusively since I got laid off from The Dissolve was completely un-recoverable but that for the low, low price of one hundred and eighty dollars, they would give me a different, new email account just like the one that had been hacked repeatedly and that I had just been told was un-recoverable. That was an offer I found easy to refuse.
Thankfully I still had access to Twitter via my phone thanks to the three-step authentication process. Yay! It wasn’t full use but it was enough. Then, in a real Murphy’s Law scenario, my phone stopped working and connecting to the internet and when I took it in to the Apple store they said it was corrupted and that it would need to be wiped completely clean.
That wiping removed my phone’s connection to Twitter, and when I tried to re-gain control of my Twitter feed, the good folks at Twitter, who do not have a customer service number you can call and whose customer service, to put it mildly, is somewhat lacking, curtly informed me that since I do not have access to the email connected to my account, my feed is completely un-recoverable and I will need to start a new one.
Here’s the thing: I spent ten years building my Twitter following. I have nearly 28,000 followers, including a lot of really impressive people. If you were to see a list of the people following @nathanrabin you would be impressed. And surprised. My Twitter feed is the single biggest driver of traffic to the website that allows me to pay my bills and mortgage and continue to make a living as a pop culture writer.
So the prospect of losing this invaluable tool is more than a little terrifying. So I am asking you, dear readers, if any of you have any connections at Twitter who might be able to help me resolve my situation. Alternately, have any of you gone through a similar hassle and gotten their Twitter feed back?
I would love to be in a position where I could just walk away, where I do not need a communication tool that allows me to communicate constantly with nearly thirty thousand potential patrons, Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place readers, Happy Cast listeners and donors to the eventual Weird Accordion to Al GoFundMe campaign but I am not in that place and I need my Twitter account to work in order to make a living.
In the meantime, and also possibly permanently, I’m using a back-up Twitter account at @RabinsCast. Please follow me on it! I’ve been using it for three weeks or so and have acquired 123 followers. At this point, I should reach my follower count from @nathanrabin on @rabinscast sometime around the year 2764.
So if you can help me at all, please do. Concerned and compassionate readers helped get me out of this jam the last time around. Hopefully y’all can do so this time around as well and if you want to contact me my new, permanent email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Not to sound desperate or anything, but HELP ME!
I make a sometimes exceedingly difficult living largely through crowd-funding, so if you would be kind enough to pledge over at https://www.patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace you can have access to patron-exclusive content, join a nice community and support independent media