Disclaimer: I am not associated with Twitter in any way, shape, or form. I do not work for Twitter and I do not know anyone that works for Twitter. I only speak from personal experience and what I gathered from other users, mainly on Reddit.
I also don’t recommend evading suspension if you can help it. If you get caught, the chances of you getting your original account back will be lowered to slim to none. Do be careful if you want to evade suspension and understand the risks of suspension evasion.
A while ago, I made an article detailing what I learned regarding locked and suspended accounts on Twitter. Recently, I noticed on Reddit that a lot of people are having issues with Twitter locking them out of their accounts demanding for a phone number that they are either unwilling or unable to provide. I have also noticed that people want advice on how to get back on Twitter as the lengthy waiting time for Twitter Support to get back to tickets is getting on their nerves.
I have gathered here all of the tips and tricks I have learned. If I find anything new, I will update this article accordingly.
If you only want tips on bypassing Twitter’s phone number lock, skip to step three.
- Try and pay for a VPN service. If you can, don’t use a free VPN. I recommend ProtonVPN (which has a free plan) and NordVPN (which I currently use).
- Make a new email.
- Get a burner number, a pay-as-you-go SIM, or use Google Voice for phone number verification if prompted by Twitter.
- Make an account with VPN on, or get a friend to make an account for you.
- Be vigilant and keep your head low to prevent Twitter from sniffing you out.
Step One: Get a VPN
Many people have experienced Twitter immediately locking and/or suspending any new accounts they make after their previous one got banned. I don’t know for certain, but there is a high possibility this is because Twitter has logged your IP.
In order to get around this, you can use a service called a VPN (Virtual Private Network). In case you don’t know what a VPN is, the Sparknotes is that it is a service that hides your IP address (Internet Protocol address, which is basically a fingerprint of your device) so that you can keep your browsing activity hidden and safe. It can also bypass any Internet censorship if you find the right service, so you can access the free Internet even if you are currently in a country that restricts Internet use.
Getting a VPN is easy, but you need to figure out which one works for you. A few users have mentioned to me that they are not as financially stable as before due to the coronavirus halting work, and wants to know the cheapest option there is – or preferably, free VPNs.
Generally speaking, free VPNs are very dangerous and not recommended. Many of them are found to have links back to China – they are either under Chinese ownership or are basically based in China. Free VPNs are also not very secure and they have little-to-no privacy protection, as well as non-existent user support. This leaves you vulnerable to data leaks.
Read more: Free VPN Risk Index: Android Apps. Top10VPN.com tested 150 free VPN apps with over 260M installs from Google Play store. They found that 25% fail to protect user privacy due to DNS and other leaks and 85% feature excessive permissions or functions with potential for privacy abuses.
Hence, paid-for VPN services are recommended. However, not a lot of people are fortunate to afford paid-for VPNs. Here are a list of free VPN services that I personally recommend and have used before:
Now, I have to admit. I am a little biased toward ProtonVPN, even more than TunnelBear. I use ProtonVPN’s other service, ProtonMail. The Proton team is based in Switzerland and works hard on encryption and safety, as their services are mainly used by activists and journalists. Their address is Chemin du Pré-Fleuri, 3, CH-1228 Plan-les-Ouates, Genève, Switzerland.
ProtonVPN claims, on their website, that they “are headquartered in Switzerland which has some of the world’s strongest privacy laws. Switzerland is also outside of EU and US jurisdiction and is not a member of the fourteen eyes surveillance network.”
ProtonVPN offers both a paid version and a free version. For their free version, which they offer because they believe privacy and security are fundamental human rights, claim that “unlike other free VPNs, there are no catches. We don’t serve ads or secretly sell your browsing history. ProtonVPN Free is subsidized by ProtonVPN paid users.”
ProtonVPN Free allows you to connect to three countries and can be used on one device. If you are not fussed about being able to use Twitter on multiple devices, then ProtonVPN is for you.
I personally have not used ProtonVPN before, but other users praise it for its security and the fact that it reconnects automatically on iOS if the connection is lost. They have noted that the “medium” speed as stated on the free plan is not that much of a bother and does not affect Twitter browsing.
ProtonVPN has the most amount of device support out of all the free VPNs I have used (which is only three), and they have apps on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and even routers.
There is no limit on how much you can use and for the sake of simple Twitter browsing, ProtonVPN does above and beyond.
TunnelBear is a VPN service that has both a paid plan and a free plan. I was recommended this back in 2013 when my classmate showed me how he bypasses the school’s restrictions. TunnelBear is based in Canada with the address listed as 310 Spadina Ave, Suite 200, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 2E7.
As stated, TunnelBear has a free plan but it limits you to 500MB every month. However, when I downloaded the app, back in April, the limit seems to be 5000MB. You are allowed to tweet and get 1GB for free and that seems to refresh each month. If you limit yourself on usage, you don’t need to upgrade or tweet at all.
TunnelBear offers connections to 23 different countries and boasts about being speedy. I can back this up as I did not experience any issues browsing Twitter whilst using TunnelBear on desktop.
TunnelBear can be used on iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, and just on browser (Chrome, Firefox, and Opera). They also have a Chrome extension called Blocker that blocks online tracking. However, I personally only used the Windows app.
Overall, I do like TunnelBear as it is easy to use and it does not have any performance issues. On top of that, they stick to their adoring bear theme and a lot of their messages contain bears. On the other hand, the MB limit is very annoying and you often have to keep track on it and limit your own use, which can either help you get over your need to browse Twitter or it can just give you extra anxiety while you watch that number slowly drop with every passing minute.
This VPN was my go-to and I used it without any issues for two months.
Psiphon claims to be active since 2006 and started at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab. It is a free VPN service and it is also based in Toronto, Canada. There is no publicly stated address. There is also an option to upgrade to a paid version.
I can say with confidence that the prices Psiphon offers is not the best. Moreover, they seem to not offer any additional services other than ad removal (on mobile) and speed.
I have used Psiphon for three days and although the speed is noticeably slower than what I am used to, it does not really impact my Twitter experience. The only issue I encountered was trying to tweet a four second video, which took more than ten minutes.
As Psiphon is free, every time you connect the VPN on the app, it gives you an ad. Most of the time, the ad can be skipped immediately. Other times, you need to wait five to ten seconds for the ad to finish.
Psiphon offers apps on Android, iOS and Windows.
As Psiphon is free, it only does the bare minimum. They claim that Psiphon “does not increase your online privacy, and should not be considered or used as an online security tool.” However, for the sake of just browsing Twitter on a different IP, Psiphon is enough.
If you can, however, you should pay for a VPN for extra security. For that, I recommend NordVPN or paying for ProtonVPN. I personally also struggled with choosing between the two services and I ended up opting for NordVPN after reading a comparison. Overall, NordVPN seems to trump ProtonVPN in terms of a paid plan and they even offer a two and three year plan. However, NordVPN is slightly more expensive than ProtonVPN if you only want to get a per month or a one year plan. NordVPN also has the same amount of apps as ProtonVPN.
Read More: If none of these options appeal to you, you can refer to this list of free VPN services compiled by Top10VPN.com.
Step Two: Make a New Email
If you don’t have a spare email account and your main one is linked to your suspended/locked account, you need to make a new email address as Twitter allows you to set up an account with an email only. You cannot reuse your original email address and your address will not be usable so long as the account it is attached to is suspended/locked. If you don’t want to make a new Gmail, there are plenty of other free email services to choose from.
If you aren’t looking for anything fancy, Mail.com and Yandex Mail should suffice. You need to keep this email handy just in case Twitter locks you out for suspicious activity and asks you to change your password, so you shouldn’t use any disposable email services. Twitter also uses this email to contact you should anything happen to your account. If you lose the email, you’ve essentially lost the account.
If you want another extra layer of encryption and privacy, I recommend ProtonMail and Tutanota. ProtonMail is made by the same people who made ProtonVPN. I personally use ProtonMail and I really like their services, so I recommend them the most.
Step Three: Get a New Number
I recommend getting a pay-as-you-go SIM and using that number to verify your Twitter account if the need ever arises. Or, you should do that immediately just so they won’t bother you with it in the future.
If you don’t want to spend any money, and you happen to have a US number, you can use Google Voice to generate a new number for you to input on Twitter. Twitter will send the code as a phone call and you can answer that phone call or get a transcript of that phone call using Google Voice. I am not based in the US, though, so I cannot use Google Voice and verify this for you.
If neither of these options are applicable to you, I recommend just asking your friends for help. Phone numbers can verify more than one Twitter account, so even if your friend uses Twitter and have attached their phone number to their account, they can still use their number to unlock or attach to your account.
I do not recommend disposable phone number services. I have tried them and Twitter only gives me the error “unsupported phone number” when I enter them. You can still try if you want to, but the chances of them working is low.
Step Four: Make a New Account
Now that you have prepared everything, you can go ahead and make an account. Remember to turn on your VPN and keep your burner number ready just in case. If you are really paranoid, you can ask a friend you trust to make the account for you, as well as adding their phone number in while they do so.
I did not make a new account. A friend of mine gave an old account of his to me. He helped unlock the account when it asked for a phone number and he reset everything for me, to make it less suspicious to Twitter. If you have a friend like this, you should do the same. Twitter seems to be less weary of old or existing accounts.
Step Five: Be Vigilant and Keep Your Head Low
You should be able to use Twitter after following everything on this list. Do keep in mind to be vigilant when browsing Twitter, however, as you may trigger Twitter’s bots and have them lock your account once again. I tried to DM my friends without them following me back first, and Twitter asked me to input a phone number as that action is blocked on accounts without a number. Luckily, I was able to back out of this page.
You should limit your use every day. I don’t have much data on this because I’m not a data miner, nor do I know anything about Twitter’s inner workings, but it feels better to have a cool-down so that Twitter doesn’t immediately sniff you out.
I used Twitter off and on for the first two months, oftentimes going weeks without logging in. Only three days ago (at the time of writing) did I re-download Twitter on mobile and I have not attempted to log in on desktop ever since. I never open the Twitter app on my phone without the VPN on and I always close the app before I turn my VPN off.
Now that I have a paid plan for NordVPN, I keep my VPN on even when I am not using Twitter.
If you take all of these steps, I’m sure you will be able to use Twitter without any issues. I don’t have any idea as to how long it will take for Twitter to cool down on your IP, so I wouldn’t risk it if I were you. I will keep using VPN on Twitter until I can get my original account back, as that – to me – is the only guarantee way of making sure Twitter will not be keeping an eye on you.
Just in case, though, if you get your original account back after using a spare account, you should log out of your spare account before you re-access your original account. Twitter has a habit of suspending accounts again if there is a history of “rule breaks” associated with said account, so if (hopefully not) your account is once again suspended, you still have a spare account to fall back on. Just keep the two accounts separate as to not clue Twitter in that you own both these accounts.
If you have any other tips and tricks that I have not mentioned here, or if you encounter any problems, feel free to comment and I will add it to this article.
2 replies ›