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Are Cities Too Reliant on Twitter?

Social media platforms have become key communication tools for government agencies. The recent suspension of the DC Metrobus account shows the perils.

A Washington, DC, Metrobus Twitter account that alerted riders about delays and schedule changes was recently suspended by the company for unknown reasons. It was later restored. 

A Washington, DC, Metrobus Twitter account that alerted riders about delays and schedule changes was recently suspended by the company for unknown reasons. It was later restored. 

Photographer: Eric Lee/The Washington Post

The morning of Jan. 10 started like most for the Washington, DC, Metrobus Twitter account: It alerted riders to mechanical issues that stalled one bus route, and an accident that foiled another. But straphangers looking for updates were confused when the tweets abruptly stopped and a new message appeared: “Account suspended.”

Access to the Twitter account, @metrobusinfo, was restored nine hours later without a definitive answer on why it was suspended, according to Sherri Ly, a media relations manager for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.