Automated support is a nightmare, whether in digital media or in the air

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Automated support is a nightmare, whether you are dealing with a locked Twitter account, a locked Microsoft account, or a jumbo jet in the air. Software will be the death of humanity eventually if fail-safe measures are no implemented.

This morning, Twitter locked my account because they “detected suspicious activity” though I passed a verification test they sent to me via email. Trying to do a password reset, I am told I have exceeded the maximum number of tries. Trying to get help from Support, I keep being sent an email that says, “The email address used to file your request does not match the email associated with the Twitter account you mentioned.”

The entire support system is automated and sending me round in circles. The automated support system has been of zero help.

How It Happened

I was logged into Twitter on Firefox browser. I installed Opera Browser and logged in there too. Twitter said they detected something suspicious and said they had sent me a code to verify my identity.The email arrived and said:

Looks like there was a login attempt from a new device or location
If this wasn’t you, secure your account by resetting your password now.

If this was you, please confirm your identity by using this temporary code on Twitter or wherever you might enter your Twitter password: xxxxxx

Of course, it was me, so I copied the provided code in the email and entered it as required. My Twitter feed loaded, abut then some moments later, the page refreshed and threw this message at me:

fr3ItA S normal

Mister Mo
What happened?
We have detected unusual activity on your account. For your security, your account has been locked until you change your password.
What can you do:
To secure your account, please change your password before logging back in.

I have since attempted to change my password, but Twitter automated support keeps telling me:

You’ve exceeded the number of attempts. Please try again later.

Automated Support Systems Suck

This is so eerily familiar to what happened when Microsoft locked me out of my Hotmail account and we kept going in an unbroken circle of password retrievals. Eventually, I had to let go of the Hotmail account. And the problem is software. Or more explicitly, automated support software. These digital services are replacing human support with software, so it is mostly software trying to walk you through the recovery process. And the software algorithm messes up again and again.

I have followed all the instructions provided on Twitter’s support page for Help with locked or limited account, and the result is a continuous loop.

All attempts result in an email response that says, “The email address used to file your request does not match the email associated with the Twitter account you mentioned.”

automated support for locked account

If there was a human being at the other end of the support channel, this matter would have been resolved in minutes. I would have resolved the issue with my Hotmail account as well. But thanks to automated software, we are here.

Simply put, automated support sucks, whether you are trying to resolve a locked account or get anything else done.

Buying An Office 360 Subscription

Some months ago, a client of ours needed an Office 365 subscription and I sat down to get it for her. Ordinarily, this should take no more than 10 minutes, but the system gave an error, and there the round trips began again, thanks to Microsoft’s automated support. All attempts to get direct human intervention failed. Eventually, the client got tired and got a solution from Computer Village. Microsoft’s loss.

I have steered clear of Microsoft’s products since then. Twice beaten…by their automated support system.

artificial intelligence - ai

AI Automation In The Skies

This reminds me of the recent Boeing 737 Max crashes: both were as a result of automated software that humans could not bypass. Fully automated support systems and software are a bad idea. There should always be a line of human contacts or a manual override that users can fall back on when all else fails.

Au revoir, Twitter

It looks like this is it with Twitter for me. I just might forget about Twitter, the same way I ditched Microsoft. Who knows what is next – Facebook? I have been tired of social networks in particular, for about 2 years now and already shut down my Instagram account. Nobody died. I have been on the verge of deleting my Twitter account too. This current situation just makes it easy to walk away. Nobody will die.

locked phone

However it plays out with Twitter, life goes on. We all had lives before social media, and when social media implodes, we will all still be here. Life always does one thing – it goes on.

I do hope that domain name registrars and web host service providers will have enough sense, when the time comes, to not repeat the mistake that Microsoft, Twitter, and even Boeing, have made. I’d like to keep and running and not get locked out this way with no means of getting human help.

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