Ralf – best known for his roles in The Royle Family and Two Pints Of Lager – changed his name on the social media site to “Conservative Press Office”, while removing his photo and replacing it with the party’s logo.
This was a nod to the Tories changing one of their verified accounts into a supposed “fact-checking service” during the debate (a move they reversed once it’s over), which was heavily criticised.
Shortly after making the change, a message posted on LBC broadcaster James O’Brien’s Twitter page read: “A message from @RalfLittle… just been logged out of my twitter account without explanation. Assume I’ve been suspended. Which is fine. But only if the @CCHQPress account is suspended for the same thing.”
He added: “Please continue to press the issue with twitter in my absence.”
A message from @RalfLittle:— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) November 20, 2019
Just been logged out of my twitter account without explanation. Assume I’ve been suspended. Which is fine. But only if the @CCHQPress account is suspended for the same thing. Please continue to press the issue with twitter in my absence.
The Conservatives’ account remains intact, but Twitter has warned that a repeat of the incident would result in “decisive corrective action”.
Four hours after his account was locked, Ralf revealed that it had been reinstated, sharing his experience in a thread:
I’m back on.— Ralf Little (@RalfLittle) November 20, 2019
4 hours unable to log in to my account. No explanation, no email, nothing. My account still live. Password resets didn’t work, links went nowhere. Suddenly I get an email, “press to login” & I’m back. Don’t know what happened but there are 3 possibilities-
1) I was suspended by Twitter. Except that my account stayed live, and I received no emails to say so. Very weird. Nonetheless I couldn’t access it for 4 hours, or reset password, or anything. This could be coincidental timing of course. Then again it could not. Or...— Ralf Little (@RalfLittle) November 20, 2019
2) The original message I got said I was logged out because of “unusual activity” and I should log back in. Which I then couldn’t. So maybe... *maybe* some weird coincidental software glitch kept me out. (Software experts feel free to weigh in). Or...— Ralf Little (@RalfLittle) November 20, 2019
3) I was somehow locked out of my account by somebody, or some body. Which’d be VERY sinister. It’s easy for conspiracy theory to override critical thinking, so best not to get carried away, but suffice to say there has been some weird activity on my twitter account today. So...— Ralf Little (@RalfLittle) November 20, 2019
4) I’m relieved to be back. Thanks for incredible support. I’m about to change back to my “real identity”, because this was originally just a joke to highlight a disgusting attempt at disinformation. What I don’t want to do is now continue with disinformation. Stay vigilant. 👊🏻— Ralf Little (@RalfLittle) November 20, 2019
Ps talking of staying vigilant, thanks to the ever heroic @mrjamesob for passing on my message that I had been frozen out.— Ralf Little (@RalfLittle) November 20, 2019
Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker also rebranded his Twitter account to “factcheckUK”, though at the time of writing, his page remains active.
Twitter previously said of the matter: “Twitter is committed to facilitating healthy debate throughout the UK General Election.
“We have global rules in place that prohibit behaviour that can mislead people, including those with verified accounts.
“Any further attempts to mislead people by editing verified profile information – in a manner seen during the UK election debate – will result in decisive corrective action.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.