Twitter pauses December plan to delete inactive accounts

28 November 2019 - 11:35 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Twitter has paused its plans to delete inactive accounts and freeing up usernames.
Twitter has paused its plans to delete inactive accounts and freeing up usernames.
Image: AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL

Twitter has paused its plans to delete inactive accounts and free up user names amid concerns that accounts of dead users would be swept up in the removal.

Twitter, according to The Verge, announced that it would start deleting accounts that had been inactive for more than six months, unless users logged in before December 11.

The cull included users who had died, unless someone with that person's account details was able to log in.

Twitter said it was putting the plan on hold and apologised to families of users who had died.

“We’ve heard you on the impact that this would have on the accounts of the deceased,” Twitter said.

“This was a miss on our part. We will not be removing any inactive accounts until we create a new way for people to memorialise accounts.”

In its statement clarifying the plan to remove accounts, Twitter said it was only intended for the European Union (EU), but that it would continue to monitor laws around the world to ensure compliance.

“We've always had an inactive-account policy, but we haven't enforced it consistently,” the company said.

Twitter’s terms of service warn users that their accounts “may be permanently removed due to prolonged inactivity” and to keep them active they should “be sure to log in and tweet at least every six months”. 

The company is now looking to more actively enforce the inactive-accounts policy, once it has figured out a means to preserve accounts of deceased users.

“We apologise for the confusion and concerns we caused, and will keep you posted,” it said.


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