Irish cheesemaker blocked by Twitter over Mayo sunrise post

Aisling Flanagan left bewildered and concerned over company’s ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy

An acclaimed cheesemaker in the west of Ireland was left bewildered and dismayed after a joy-filed tweet about a Mayo sunrise saw her Twitter account blocked by the social media giant.

“Good morning Mayo, mist rising, one duck quacking,” posted Aisling Flanagan, the woman behind the Velvet Cloud sheep’s cheese brand almost two weeks ago. As well as the text welcoming a new day she added a short video of the sun rising in the west. However a less than velvet cloud soon appeared on her horizon almost immediately. Hours later, when she logged on to her account she was shocked to discover that the tweet had been deleted and she was being denied access to her account.

The state of suspension was in place for more than 10 days until Ms Flanagan took to Twitter using an alternate handle to highlight her plight.

“To get unblocked you have to tick a box agreeing that your tweet violated their polices,” she told The Irish Times.


“But if I did that, how do I know my next sunrise might not do the same? And apparently with Twitter it’s three blocks and you are gone for good.”

She said that the alternative was to launch an appeal against the sanction.

“I felt that was the correct course so I filled in the appeal form,” she said.

“However, according to their terms and conditions, it could take 30 days for my appeal to be reviewed [and] even then I’ve no idea will they tell me what I did wrong?”

She said she had tried to make contact with the company using the other Twitter handle and to explain what had happened and seek even an estimated timeline when she would be allowed back into her account. But as of this weekend there had been no response from the company.

“There is no email Twitter option anywhere so while they are promoting the fact they are “loving” small businesses they aren’t really,” she said.

She accepted that the company “owes me nothing, I’ve never paid to advertise on the platform and I only had 7k followers but it was an important brand-building platform for us and all these media are desperate for activity and engagement on their platforms.” She noted that she had “actually got our very first chef orders on Twitter when we started and we still get orders today.”

The Irish Times made contact with the social media giant to find out how it had taken tweets inciting an insurrection to get former US president Donald Trump blocked on Twitter but and Irish cheesemaker could receive similar treatment by tweeting about the morning sun.

A spokesman said Velvet Cloud had been suspended by mistake.

“The enforcement action on the account you referenced happened in error,” he said. “The decision has been reversed.”

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor