Those who wanted to share a petition calling on A&E to immediately restore Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson to his show found Twitter was blocking sharing the URL to the petition site as spam. Twitter has resolved the problem, saying it was due to an error with a third-party service it uses to stop spam links.
“The URL IStandWithPhil.com was mistakenly flagged as spam tonight, by an outside organization that tracks spam sources. We have restored access and apologize for the error,” Twitter told Marketing Land, in an emailed statement.
@Twitter blocks users from tweeting istandwithphil . com. Visit http://t.co/0xqYenfnJd for more. #IStandWithPhil pic.twitter.com/8Kdtp9xbbP
— FaithDrivenConsumer (@FaithConsumer) December 23, 2013
The organization linked to a page where it explained that tweets with IStandWithPhil.com are being flagged as having “spammy or unsafe content.”
Here’s how that looked when we tried sharing through Twitter for Mac, for the first edition of this story, posted at 5:51am ET on December 23:
In that case, I was told “Status contains malware.” When I tried sharing through Twitter’s web site, I got a message saying that a URL in the tweet “appears to link to a page that has spammy or unsafe content,” as shown below:
The Wrap has an article that explains a bit more, showing a message that Twitter apparently provided to Faith Consumer explaining that it should use a Google tool to determine if the site has been flagged as being unsafe. The message goes on to say that even if the Google tool reports the site as safe, Twitter might still decide a site is unsafe for apparently other reasons.
As the site wasn’t flagged by Google, this appeared to be solely down to some issue Twitter was having — and that turned out to be the case.
Many on Twitter expressed upset, before the issue was resolved. A search for “#istandwithphil” on Twitter bought up several tweets per minute from those specifically wanting the block lifted:
An alternative URL for the petition, http://www.faithdrivenconsumer.com/istandwithphil, wasn’t being blocked. So, the problem was related specifically to the istandwithphil.com domain.
Faith Consumer also said this was the third major shutdown of a pro-Phil Robertson social media account but didn’t say what the other two were. Technically, this wasn’t a shutdown of a social media account. It was Twitter blocking a URL — which didn’t look good — but Twitter hadn’t blocked the actual account behind the URL, Faith Consumer.
Postscript (Dec. 24, 12:30am ET): The story was updated to reflect the block being removed.