Anyone who’s dealt with a suspended account on Twitch, Twitter, or any other platform can attest to the dizzying feats required to get those accounts back — that is, if you’re lucky enough to even get them back in the first place. Unless you manage to get some sort of media attention, victims of this issue are typically left with little to no recourse against the social media sites involved.
Enter DoNotPay, an app that bills itself as “the world’s first robot lawyer.” For $US36 ($50)-a-month, the service will format letters to help users deal with a whole slew of issues, from filing insurance claims and cancelling gym memberships to filing requests under the Freedom of Information Act. And yes, getting your social media account back is on the list, too.
“These platforms prioritise legal cases,” DoNotPay CEO Joshua Browder told Engadget. “When you’re just writing into customer service, they don’t really take it seriously.”
The idea is that a letter that’s sent to a company’s legal department is far more likely to get noticed, even if that letter’s largely written by an automated bot. It helps that as part of this appeal, DoNotPay will ask you for specific details about your unfair ban, and try to “match” those details with some sort of legal precedent.
These letters include a deadline for the company to respond. If unanswered, DoNotPay’s website explains the case can escalate to lawsuit territory as needed.
But even before your case reaches that point — or even if your appeal is ultimately unsuccessful — Browder explained that the service could offer other paths of recourse for you. One option is strongarming a platform into handing over account data, like messages or pictures, that might have been swept up in the ban. That way, even if you aren’t able to get your entire account back, at least you can get back enough data to get back on your feet and start over with a different username.
Ultimately though, this isn’t going to be a service that just anyone hit by a banhammer can use. As DoNotPay points out, accounts that get banned for legitimate reasons — violating a platform’s terms of service, for example, or committing some sort of illegal act on the platform — won’t get anything out of filing an appeal:
In the case of an appeal, you should explain your behaviour and why you believe the suspension of your account was a mistake, unjustified, and wrong.
If the company already provided you with a reason for your account ban or suspension and refused to change their decision, there will be no point in appealing again as the initial answer is final.
We have no idea if this will work but if you’re really desperate, the $US36 ($50) fee might be worth a try.