How a “robot lawyer” could help you stop being banned from social media

Just weeks after Facebook rebranded itself as “Meta,” the longtime @metaverse Instagram owner suddenly found herself banned from the account she had managed for years. A message told Thea-Mai Baumann that she had been suspended for impersonation, although she never claimed to be anyone else. His account was restored after The New York Times about the ordeal, but the company never provided an explanation as to how the error was made.

While what happened to him was unusual, one aspect of Baumann’s story is more common: People who are unfairly suspended from their social media accounts often have little or no recourse to get them back (at least, not without media attention).

Now this group may have another option. The “robot lawyer” company DoNotPay, which offers automated legal services, has a new offer: obtaining accounts on social networks.

The new service, which is included in DoNotPay’s $ 36 monthly subscription, gives users an alternative to emailing business help center bots or wiring calls that may never get response. Instead, DoNotPay asks users for information about what happened to them and sends a letter to the relevant company’s legal department on their behalf.

Not paying

“These platforms prioritize legal affairs,” DoNotPay CEO Joshua Browder told Engadget. “When you just write customer service, they don’t really take it seriously. Legal departments, on the other hand, are much more likely to respond, he says.

In the appeal, the company also tries to “match” your call with a “legal reason why it cannot ban you,” using state and federal laws that may apply. The letter also includes a deadline for the company’s response. He says that so far PayPal and Instagram have been among the most requested services for the banning. But the service will work with other platforms as well, including Twitter, Snapchat, Uber, Tinder, YouTube, Twitch, and others.

Importantly, Browder emphasizes that the service is not intended for people who have been banned from a platform for legitimate reasons, such as violating its terms of service. And even for those who have been wrongly suspended, he estimates that the odds of recovering an account as a result of this process are around 20%.

But even if the appeal isn’t ultimately successful, Browder says there are other benefits to the process. On the one hand, companies are required to hand over user data whether or not their account has been suspended. So even if you fail, for example, to regain access to your Instagram account, DoNotPay can ensure that the company passes on your account details. There’s also the fact that sending a legal notice can cause a much bigger headache for a business than ranting in front of customer service agents.

“In general, in America, they have the right to ban you,” Browder says. “We are not exaggerating that we can work miracles, but we can punish them a lot and get your data.”

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