Twitter clips wings of bird charity’s account after posts about woodcock
A bird conservation charity was locked out of its Twitter account for eight days after posting several tweets about woodcock.
The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) was preparing for a nationwide survey of the threatened wader bird before it was barred from the social media platform.
Twitter has yet to respond to a request for comment, but Elon Musk tweeted to say the story was “ironic”.
He wrote: “Most ironic thing I’ve read in a while. How much wood could a woodcock...”
Tom Stewart, media manager at BTO, said: “Twitter is our most important social media channel for engaging with our supporters.
“We don’t know exactly what happened but we did do a lot of tweets about a bird called a woodcock.
‘Maybe Twitter algorithm interprets word woodcock differently’
“After the age verification prompt, we were locked out for eight days and it was impossible to get hold of anyone from Twitter.
“Even from their press office. Half the people on LinkedIn who state they’re employees for Twitter don’t work there anymore.
“Maybe the Twitter algorithm interprets the word ‘woodcock’ differently. But we’re a big charity and rely on Twitter to raise awareness and speak with people.”
He added: “It was annoying that it happened in that week of all weeks, when there tends to be a swell of activity among our 115,000 followers for Winterwatch and the weekend’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, which we support and highlights that people can monitor birds all year round in our own Garden Birdwatch.”
Chris Packham, BBC Winterwatch presenter, tweeted to ask Mr Musk to sort things out after his co-presenter Michaela Strachan had also lost her account.
Hello @elonmusk . Thanks for reinstating @michaelastracha to @Twitter . I’m afraid the excellent @_BTO have now inexplicably disappeared . They are very important and well respected scientists and educators working to support critical conservation projects . Any chance . . . RT pic.twitter.com/XCrllstZZe
— Chris Packham (@ChrisGPackham) January 27, 2023
He called the BTO “well-respected scientists and educators working to support critical conservation projects”.
The @_BTO account was restored on Saturday evening with no explanation from the social media platform.
Hello old friends! We are back and very happy to see you all again after our week locked out of Twitter! 🥳 pic.twitter.com/g4W0C70APw
— BTO (@_BTO) January 29, 2023
Mr Stewart said: “Obviously we’re relieved to be able to tweet again.
“But we’re conscious of the irony of a bird charity being locked out of Twitter.”
The woodcock is on the red list in the UK for its threatened status.