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The VICE Channels

    Twitter’s Most Harmlessly Charming Account Was Mysteriously Suspended

    Written by

    Clinton Nguyen

    Editorial fellow

    Someone help. The best Twitter account has been taken down, and no one knows exactly why.

    @Dog_Rates, formerly known as WeRateDogs, was a Twitter novelty account dedicated to rating dogs of all stripes. For example:

    The account was so simple it’s kind of a miracle that it wasn’t done before. That reasoning, however, is the most probable explanation we have for why it got banned.

    Matt Nelson, the user who claims to be behind WeRateDogs, posted a series of tweets relaying what he thinks happened:

    From the email chain, which Nelson says is legit, a person he identifies as Myteenquote123@gmail.com admits to cribbing all his tweets to cross-post on Instagram. The user then filed an abuse report to Twitter for impersonation, and the company actually followed through.

    Matt Nelson sent this statement to us by email:

    “I'm the owner of WeRateDogs. Someone filed DMCA claims posing as the owners of the dogs in some of the photos I've rated. They gave the same email each time they impersonated someone. I also have emails from whoever it is threatening me. This proves that literally anyone can shut down an account if they want. I poured my heart into that account to make it the best it could be. It and I had a really bright future making people laugh. Now that's gone. I don't know why someone would want to disappoint 180,000 people in one fatal blow. I'm seriously at a loss for words."

    Of course, this speaks volumes about the types of violations Twitter believes is worth its time—never mind the amount of actual threats that women and marginalized communities receive on the daily.

    Just recently, the company announced a Trust and Safety Council dedicated to paring down the platform’s huge troll problem, but in the same breath suspended Trusty Support, a popular parody account that lampooned the company for its propensity for sending out canned responses to users who said they were receiving harassment and threats. Not to mention it was already suspended before for trademark violations (sure).

    “We do not comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons,” Nu Wexler, a Twitter spokesman told me when asked how Twitter investigated WeRateDogs and impersonation cases like it.

    Can Twitter ever make up for its already spotty record for account suspensions? Sure, 2015 brought the suspension of a number of prominent trolls and brings down thousands of ISIS accounts on the daily. But an account that’s really only around to spread happiness and cute dog pics? No words for that.

    Update: By Wednesday morning, @dog_rates had been restored. "I was literally shaking for 4 hours," Nelson tweeted. "Thank you all so much for the support."