Net Neutrality outrage: reports of T-Mobile blocking Twitter

Update: Confirmed by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone: Hey folks. T-Mobile has definitely turned us off without notification.


Update: Confirmed by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone: Hey folks. T-Mobile has definitely turned us off without notification. At Twitter we make great effort to be in compliance with all the carrier "playbooks." We're still trying to find out why T-Mobile has taken this action—as soon as we find out, we'll let you know.

Now to the original post:

Self-described "pet-loving computer geek" Bob Mertz of Linden, Virginia, is more than just a trifle annoyed at T-Mobile for blocking access to his Twitter account.

On his BibleBoy blog, Bob posts a series of exchanges he has had about the issue with T-Mobile customer support.

Yesterday, Bob posted this about his attempts to talk to T-Mobile and get his Twitter working again:

For the last few days I have been unable to send SMS messages to the Twitter service from my T-Mobile cell phone. This evening I decided that enough was enough and I called T-Mobile. I spoke with 3 different reps and would not let up until I got an answer for why this was no longer working. Finally I spoke with someone in Customer Relations and she felt strongly enough about this that she got a tech on the phone. After waiting for the tech to research the issue they came back with a response (and the rep I was spoeaking with was as outraged as I was). Their official response was that T-Mobile does not support third party messaging services and the reason why I am all of a sudden unable to send messages to the Twitter service is because their system "caught up to the bug." I specifically asked if this meant I should expect to never be able to send to Twitter again and the answer was yes.

I explained to the rep about Net Neutrality and, to be honest, she had been outraged from the start. She completely agreed with me that this was an example of T-Mobile picking and choosing who you can and can't use with your T-Mobile SMS. I also explained that I paid for unlimited SMS messaging and not selective unlimited SMS messaging. She, again, agreed.

The rep and I collectively agreed that this matter needed to be heard and she opened a "Voice Forum" request with the ID of 0623630. For reference to the people reading this, the rep that I talked to had the ID of 3828493.

One thing that I do want to request is that if anyone calls in to speak with someone or emails customer service, please do not speak negatively towards the rep that I spoke with. She was extremely helpful and very instrumental in getting the ball rolling.

Also, if you want somewhere to send an email, please use It would be really great if we get a lot of people to write in or call in and explain the issues with their decission and how we object to any move that a company makes towards chosing what we can and can't do with a service we pay for.

Hope to see you on Twitter from T-Mobile soon! :)

I think Bob made an excellent case for this being a Net Neutrality issue. I mean, T-MObile is clearly playing favorites in terms of the IMs and related communications modes it accepts over their network.

But, apparently, T-Mobile doesn't see things Bob's way. They see it as their right to block Twitter.

Just a few hours ago, Bob posted this response from T-Mobile:

Dear Mr. Mertz:

My name is Marianne Maestas and I am with the Executive Customer Relations department of T-Mobile. I am contacting you on behalf of Mr. Robert Dotson in regards to the email that you sent him yesterday evening.

In your email, you express concerns, as you are not able to use your service for Twitter. As you have been advised, Twitter is not an authorized third-party service provider, and therefore you are not able to utilize service from this provide any longer. You indicate your feeling that this is a violation of the Net Neutrality.

T-Mobile would like to bring to your attention that the Terms and Conditions of service, to which you agreed at activation, indicate "... some Services are not available on third-party networks or while roaming. We may impose credit, usage, or other limits to Service, cancel or suspend Service, or block certain types of calls, messages, or sessions (such as international, 900, or 976 calls) at our discretion." Therefore, T-Mobile is not in violation of any agreement by not providing service to Twitter. T-Mobile regrets any inconvenience, however please note that if you remain under contract and choose to cancel service, you will be responsible for the $200 early termination fee that would be assessed to the account at cancellation.

Should you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Customer Care at 800-937-8997. Thank you,

Marianne Maestas, Executive Customer Relations Specialist, Office of the President

I think this sets a dangerous precedent. T-Mobile should not have the right to block Twitter. And if provisioning is an issue, the two sides should come to an agreement to make things right.