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I have seen one similar question but it is almost two years old, and there's a bit more to it.

I created a twitter account a long time ago because I was doing live streaming on adult websites. I need it to be taken down. I do not have the phone number, email, or anything else associated with the account. I did not use my real name when signing up because it was adult content and I had stalkers. Because of this, they won't delete the account.

I am wondering if there are any actions I can take. I can prove that it's me in the pictures because I literally have the same exact face and tattoos that I did years ago. My husband can prove that it's him in the pictures as well, but they will not take that as actual proof.

Do I have any options here? It's related to a phone number that many old family members still have in their phones, so when they go to create a twitter account it pops up in their suggested friends or follows or whatever.

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  • 5
    Are you located in Europe or the UK?
    – nick012000
    Jul 19 at 9:26
  • 34
    Consider approaching this from a different way - instead of proving that the account is yours, you can probably get the account shut down by telling Twitter that it's you in the photos and you don't consent to them being published. Seems to me that if Twitter think the account belongs to someone else, and has posted nude pictures of you without your permission, then that would compel them to delete it. Try using the "report" or "flag" feature to report the account. help.twitter.com/en/safety-and-security/report-a-tweet
    – kaya3
    Jul 19 at 12:04
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    @RockApe It’s one thing to know the number, it’s another thing to have access to the number. I know a lot of phone numbers; I can’t use them to verify my identity because they aren’t mine.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 19 at 14:11
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    @kaya3 A DMCA takedown notice could also work.
    – Roland
    Jul 19 at 14:15
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    @kaya3 - That's a good idea. It really should be another answer, rather than just a comment.
    – Bobson
    Jul 19 at 14:38
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I do not have the phone number, email, or anything else associated with the account.

Well, neither do I - so it must be my account.

Unfortunately, the fact that you appear in most or all of the pictures on that account does not prove that you own it. It could be the photographer's account.

Do I have ANY options here

Can you reactivate the email account associated with the Twitter account? Or the phone number? Either would allow you to reset the password and access the account.

You can go to court (in California) and seek an injunction ordering Twitter to delete the photos or give you access. Of course, you have the same issues proving ownership here as you did with Twitter but the court may have different priorities (justice) than Twitter does (corporate protection).

I had an idea. If you (or your husband) own the copyright in the photos (i.e. one of you was the photographer) you could issue a DCMA take-down notice because the poster (who, according to Twitter, isn’t you) does not have permission (even if they did at the time: permission can be revoked). Twitter would be unable to contact the account holder and would be required to remove the images when they got no response.of course, if the photographer was someone else, they could do it. Or you could break the law and say it was you, although I would never recommend this even with a near zero chance of being caught.

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    Pretty sure that there'd be other options in Europe, with regards to the GDPR and the Right To Be Forgotten.
    – nick012000
    Jul 19 at 9:28
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    Even a first-step C&D on legal letterhead might well flip Twitter from "we can't be bothered to do something about this" to "we can't be bothered to let this go any further". They're not really concerned with the principles at stake, just with minimizing their workload and liability.
    – Sneftel
    Jul 19 at 10:16
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    It could be the photographer's account - Does the "photographer" have a release signed by the model? If no, then they have no right to upload OP's photos, especially if nude.
    – henning
    Jul 19 at 11:24
  • @henning The "photographer" can fake a release statement in 5 seconds. How does the OP prove it is fake, while remaining anonymous? Laws have no effect unless they can be enforced.
    – alephzero
    Jul 19 at 12:39
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    The "photographer" isn't going to fake a release statement, because the "photographer" is a legal fiction to justify leaving the account open.
    – Brian
    Jul 19 at 12:58
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When they refuse to give you control over the account because you can not (or they don't let you) prove that it's your account, then another option would be to report it as involuntary pornography of yourself. The penalties faced by platform owners for not removing such content on request are severe. So that will leave Twitter no option but to remove the content.

It doesn't appear as if you can flag a whole account as that, but it is an option when flagging individual tweets. More information on Twitter's policy regarding removal of involuntary pornography and instructions for reporting can be found here (Thanks, ColleenV).

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    Twitter’s policy is helpful in figuring out how and what exactly to report. help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/intimate-media “We will immediately and permanently suspend any account that we identify as the original poster of intimate media that was created or shared without consent” Since they can’t get hold of the account owner, they can’t verify consent, and should take down the account.
    – ColleenV
    Jul 19 at 16:09
  • @ColleenV Thanks for the link. I added it to the answer.
    – Philipp
    Jul 19 at 16:13
  • This requires the OP to lie and claim that a crime has been committed against her. Not a good idea.
    – user3392
    Jul 19 at 19:20
  • @BenCrowell How that? The option in the Twitter UI says "It includes unauthorized, intimate content of me or someone else". OP revoked authority for Twitter to display that content, so it's unauthorized content.
    – Philipp
    Jul 19 at 20:16
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    @BenCrowell It's not clear to me that this is a lie. It may have been uploaded voluntarily, but it remains up involuntarily.
    – Ryan_L
    Jul 19 at 20:18
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Somewhat analogous to Dale M's answer regarding California: if you live in the EU, the GDPR and its executing national data protection agencies are another, probably more fruitful, since this piece of legislation not only gives you a right to have that data of yours deleted, but also provides a third party ombudsman who should help you in case that the platform (here Twitter) fails to comply with your request. The part about identity verification is quite vague as well in there, but the fact that you - with the help of a dedicated agency - are going against Twitter now (instead of you vs twitter alone), may be of some help. Because now you don't need to convince some Twitter-AI-Bot that it's you or some poor 1st level support with a script, but an independent person whose sole job is to help you

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    GDPR will not help here because only the Data Subject has a right to erasure. But how can OP prove that they are the Data Subject of the Twitter account? OP cannot provide any proof of identity, and fails to provide the common proofs (login credentials, email address, phone number). As long as Twitter's policies are reasonable, no data protection agency will force them to hand over the account based on less-direct evidence like tattoos.
    – amon
    Jul 19 at 13:36
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    @amon that doesn't seem logical: the data subject is the subject in the images, not necessarily their owner. That's the whole point of GDPR, it lets you protect your data even when they are in the hands of someone else. In fact, most specifically when they are in the hands of someone else. So if you can prove you are the subject in the photos (which you can only prove by showing up, really, the fact that you have or don't have the login credentials to the account is irrelevant, the point for GDPR is that you are in the photos, not that you uploaded them originally), it should be enough.
    – terdon
    Jul 19 at 14:07
  • @terdon I don't necessarily disagree, but we are addressing different problems (deleting the account vs deleting images posted by the account). GDPR tries to ensure a high level of data protection, but also the free movement to data. Rights and responsibilities are balanced, a data controller doesn't have to do anything a data subject wants.
    – amon
    Jul 19 at 16:39
  • @amon you missed my point no matter what. A) the data controller absolutely has to do anything the data subject wants if that want is within their rights. and B) my point was that the GDPR allows for a third party to act on behalf of the subject in problematic cases, which is exactly what OP is experiencing. Also the GDPR takes deleting those pics from something Twitter could do out of nicety to something they will be punished for failing to comply
    – Hobbamok
    Jul 20 at 11:21

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