How to get Twitter to give you a username held by someone else

Twitter releases accounts on request in certain situations if you contact them.

How to get Twitter’s attention

You must be aware of how Twitter’s ticket system works. You must file a ticket with the appropriate link. Click the links in the appropriate section below to file the right kind of ticket.

If you’ve filed a ticket and didn’t get an email response, check your spam folder and check here: http://support.twitter.com/tickets

► You have the domain name and want the Twitter name

If you bought a domain name, and someone registered the Twitter name after you bought the domain name, let Twitter know. Their registration of the domain may may be considered to be name squatting. The account will need to be inactive for a period of time before they will consider your request valid, however.

As Andrew Guenther explained to Ross Duggan, by contacting Twitter support and submitting this information on an impersonation report, the handle could be yours in less than 48 hours.

► A Twitter username is trademarked by you

Twitter’s trademark policy allows you to request they turn the username over to you. You’ll need to submit a trademark ticket request providing the details that Twitter asks for on their on their trademark policy page.

If you want an existing inactive Twitter account, as Sunil Jain points out below in the comments, some folks have been known to buy the domain name, then trademark the name, then file a ticket with Twitter claiming trademark to try to get the inactive Twitter account.

► Someone is impersonating you on Twitter

You’ll need to submit a special ticket request to Twitter. The information you’ll need to include when reporting impersonation is outlined on their impersonation policy page.

If what you want instead is to have your account verified by Twitter, realize that Twitter closed their public verification program. Yes, accounts are still verified, but those are of people who have paid Twitter to run ads, or are affiliated with Twitter partners.

Some of the factors Twitter takes into account when determining what conduct is considered to be username squatting are:

  • the number of accounts created
  • creating accounts for the purpose of preventing others from using those account names
  • creating accounts for the purpose of selling those accounts
  • using feeds of third-party content to update and maintain accounts under the names of those third parties

► You want to buy someone else’s account

Twitter’s policy does not allow the buying or selling of Twitter accounts. You can be suspended you if you list yours for sale, or are found to have sold or bought one.

However, many accounts have traded hands with Twitter’s approval. You can hire the owner of a Twitter account and receive the Twitter account as part of the hiring arrangement. Twitter has also given special approval for government and charitable sales of Twitter accounts.

Twitter defines what you cannot sell as their “Services,” which they define as your use of Twitter’s products, services and web sites. The Twitter Rules explain that unless you have been specifically permitted to do so in a separate agreement with Twitter, you agree that you will not reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, trade or resell those “Services” for any purpose.

► You want to take over an inactive account

Twitter does not release inactive accounts just because they are inactive. They used to, years ago, and they say they will again someday, but they have said that for years now, so it’s hard to predict when you might be able to request an inactive Twitter account again.

You can read old comments on this post (via archive.org) here

12 thoughts on “How to get Twitter to give you a username held by someone else

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  6. Hello,

    I found your website and found the information interesting. I do however have some updated feedback for you on Trademarked Names. I own the Trademarked Name – “Twuzzle” and my new product is patent pending. I contacted the owner who has this twitter name and they flat out told me they didn’t own it. I then contacted Twitter fully expecting to have them pass along the trademarked name to me….was I flat out wrong…Twitter’s legal team said that the individual who owned the Twitter name – Twuzzle was not infringing my trademark and therefore I was not entitled to it.

    So there you go…from a businessman who owns a trademark and has patent pending on a product by that name.

    1. Sadly, Twitter updated their policy after we wrote this to be more stringent, i.e. “Using a company or business name, logo, or other trademark-protected materials in a manner that may mislead or confuse others with regard to its brand or business affiliation may be considered a trademark policy violation.”

      The account you seek is protected (no public visible tweets to infringe with) and has never used images that might infringe.

      HOWEVER, Twitter also says:

      “When we determine that an account appears to be confusing users, but is not purposefully passing itself off as the trademarked good or service, we give the account holder an opportunity to clear up any potential confusion. We may also release a username for the trademark holder’s active use.”

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