What is Twitter Jail and How Can I Avoid Getting Locked Up?

Q: I heard a blogger mention something called Twitter jail. Does this really exist, and if so, how can I be sure to stay out? It sounds frightening!

Twitter jail is a real term, but as ominous as it sounds, isn’t really that severe of a punishment. It’s simply a common way to refer to a user who has surpassed the limits for tweeting and is banned from posting for a couple of hours.

These limits are 100 messages in one hour, or 1000 tweets in a day (including retweets).

Additionally, if you send more than 250 DMs during one day’s time, you will not be allowed to send more for the rest of the day.

If you’re sent to Twitter jail, there is not much you can do except wait. Fortunately, the term of your sentence is only one or two hours, after which time you will be able to Tweet normally again.

One strategy you can use if you can’t wait and want to bypass Twitter jail is to create and use another Twitter account.

Thinking about these limits, though, many people respond with skepticism: how could someone possibly tweet that much? Although it certainly isn’t much of a risk for most Twitter users, there are certain occasions where these Twitter limits come into play. During major breaking news, for example, some people tend to tweet with high frequency as a story develops. Others like to participate in twitter chats, where a group of users engage in an informal question and answer session all grouped around a particular hashtag. (One popular one is #blogchat) During these rapid-fire discussions, some people approach the hourly limit without even realizing it.

So why does Twitter impose these limits, then? For one, they help lighten the load on Twitter’s servers, and cut down on downtime and error messages. (Have you ever seen the graphic of the whale being held up by a group of birds informing you that Twitter is currently over capacity?) In addition, Twitter limits help combat the spammers who send out mass amounts of tweets using automated software programs.

Overall, Twitter jail isn’t something that you should worry about too much under normal circumstances, there are reasons why it exists.

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Additional Twitter Limits

The “jail” limits on posted messages, though, are not the only limits found on Twitter. If you use third-party applications, there are limits on API requests that can be made each hour. Also, once you have followed 2,000 other users, you must have a particular ratio of followers in order to follow more. (This is determined algorithmically and is specific to your own account.)

The follower limit is also a mechanism to fight back against spam, as some Twitter users engage in “aggressive following,” where they use software to find thousands upon thousands of related accounts and automatically follow them. With this limit, however, none of these users are allowed to auto-follow so many people because no one will be following them back. (source)

And finally, of course, there is the 140 character limit on any single tweet!

Have you ever experienced these limits or taken a temporary trip to Twitter jail?

andrew walshAndrew Walsh is the owner and editor of Social Web Q and A. He is a freelance writer, academic librarian and web entrepreneur. Check out his book Savvy for the Social Web.

(Note: Affiliate links are used in this post)


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  1. This is too funny – but I wasn’t aware of it. I would not tweet 100 tweets in an hour in fear of losing all my followers 🙂 I love using the buffer app to help pace myself since I do love Twitter….

    • Andrew Walsh says:

      Yeah, I don’t think my followers would react too kindly to that many tweets either! I personally use TweetDeck to schedule messages sometimes, but I really should look more into Buffer.

  2. Please put me back on twitter

    • Andrew Walsh says:

      Have you been stuck in Twitter jail for more than a few hours?

      • Lily Hernandez says:

        I have been in it for more than two hours and I lost all my followers, I can’t follow anyone, I can’t tweet, and I only tweeted about 40 times!

  3. I’m in twitter jail noww:(( it said user is over daily limit for status updates … This is awfull

  4. Yes i have…im in twitterjail right now

  5. Drake Graves says:

    I followed aggressively without knowing about this twitter jail thing, but as of now i can tweet and DM still. But whenever i go to follow it says forbidden for everyone i try, how do i fix this? I have like 700 following and about 400 follower, if that helps.. Idk how to fix.

  6. JL Griffin says:

    My friends end up in it 3 or 4 times a day and for the life of me j cannot understand why this limit has been imposed in the first place unless twitter is a much less stable network than they claim to be. Twitters interaction with its server happens at the initial opening of the window and then an ajax call every 45 seconds to check for new tweets. That ajax call uses just over 1 byte of data its a ping to the database. The tweet process itself is consistent of an ajax call which inserts a maximum of 190 bytes of data in the form of a session variable containing the user id string, date time and the actual 160 character string. This gets inserted into the database…. the twitter platform really isn’t a complex system and if it can’t handle 100kb per user per hour they shouldn’t be operating or marketing themselves as a true social platform. Use a CDN, use a distributed DNS network and stop imposing bogus limits on your users

  7. Billy Green says:

    Yeah,I didn’t know this until I spotted Twitter Jail.I’m watching over my tweets and counting making sure when me and my friend are tweeting,I don’t know how far I was this past winter from being in Twitter Jail.me and my best friend. Favorites don’t hurt you.That does not count.She use to favorite all my tweets.All the fun times I had.1,000 tweets be in Twitter Jail for the rest of the day.100 tweets within 1 hour be in Twitter Jail for a couple hours?That does not make a bit of sense.I watched YouTube videos of Twitter Jail.It doesn’t make sense.Its rediculous. Some got putting in jail and a man who got putting in jail twice from Retweeting some girl’s tweets.And second time ,when he got somewhere,officer trying to get him and couldn’t get away and he said that didn’t work and here he is back in Twitter Jail.What kind of fools of laws can that be?Its stupid.


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