Twitter to purge inactive accounts, free up usernames (updated)

Users have until Dec. 11 to log into their accounts.

Nov 27, 2019, 3:00 pm*

Tech

Alexandra Samuels 

Alexandra Samuels

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Twitter is sending a message to people who never log into their accounts: Use or it lose it. 

In an email to users, the company said it would be deleting dormant accounts that haven’t been logged into in the past six months unless users log in before Dec. 11. The move is intended to free up registered usernames that are out of use.

“As part of our commitment to serve the public conversation, we’re working to clean up inactive accounts to present more accurate, credible information people can trust across Twitter. Part of this effort is encouraging people to actively log-in and use Twitter when they register an account, as stated in our inactive accounts policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told the Verge

“We have begun proactive outreach to many accounts who have not logged into Twitter in over six months to inform them that their accounts may be permanently removed due to prolonged inactivity,” it said.

The move won’t affect users who log into the social media app but refrain from tweeting. The company said it defines activity by logging in.

It’s not immediately clear or how the app will address the accounts of deceased users

“We do not currently have a way to memorialize someone’s Twitter account once they have passed on, but the team is thinking about ways to do this,” the spokesperson said. (Facebook, by comparison, has a process for memorializing the accounts of dead users.)

As for the timeframe of now-open accounts, don’t expect change to happen instantaneously. The spokesperson told the Verge that the account removal process will take months, not days. 

Update 2:48pm CT, Nov. 27: After users expressed concerns over accounts belonging to people who have died, Twitter acknowledged the announcement about deleting inactive accounts “was a miss.”

Twitter said “for now,” it would only delete inactive accounts in the European Union to comply with privacy regulations. The social media company clarified that aside from the E.U., it would “not be removing any inactive accounts until we create a new way for people to memorialize accounts.”

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H/T the Verge

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*First Published: Nov 27, 2019, 11:59 am