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Twitter suspends Baltimore delegate for ‘excessive’ use of hashtags while tweeting about transit and climate

The social media platform Twitter suspended state Del. Robbyn Lewis for tweeting hashtags about using public transit and need to address climate change ― then reinstated her account a day later amid an outcry in Baltimore. Lewis is shown in this 2017 file photo in the House of Delegates chamber in Annapolis.
The social media platform Twitter suspended state Del. Robbyn Lewis for tweeting hashtags about using public transit and need to address climate change ― then reinstated her account a day later amid an outcry in Baltimore. Lewis is shown in this 2017 file photo in the House of Delegates chamber in Annapolis. (Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun)

The social media platform Twitter suspended state Del. Robbyn Lewis for tweeting hashtags about using public transit and need to address climate change ― then reinstated her account a day later amid an outcry in Baltimore.

The Baltimore Democrat, who is believed to be the only member of the General Assembly who doesn’t use a personal automobile, frequently tweets about riding a bike or public transit to get around, sometimes using the hashtag #buslife.

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Prior to her suspension Thursday, Lewis also used the hashtag #climatehero to praise children who were demonstrating to pressure the government to address the warming planet.

Upon learning of her suspension, many users from Baltimore tweeted their objections, noting that the site is home to other users who are trolls and bigots and arguing Lewis had done nothing wrong.

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In an email Friday to Lewis, a message from the company said Lewis had used hashtags in an “excessive” manner.

“On review of your appeal, we have decided to unsuspend your account. However, please be advised that any future behavior in violation of the Twitter Rules may result in the permanent suspension of your account."

In response to questions from The Baltimore Sun, the company said Lewis’ account was “accidentally caught in a spam filter in error.”

“I’m just a state delegate trying to do my job ― communicate with my constituents, share information about issues and news in my city and share uplifting stories about my community activities,” Lewis responded. “I don’t insult, fight trolls or engage in any type of angry speech. I mean, I post photos of butterflies in my garden. Apparently, it’s a Twitter crime to hashtag about riding the bus.”

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On Twitter, she used a hashtag to celebrate: #FreeAtLast.

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