What you need to know
- Twitter is delaying the mass deletion of accounts that was planned for December.
- Concerns around deceased users drove the company to cancel the cleanup.
- The company has committed to building a memorialization feature before it deletes any accounts.
After announcing yesterday that it planned to mass-delete and free up usernames for any account that had been inactive for six months, Twitter has walked back that plan today. Concerns immediately arose around how the company would avoid deleting accounts of those who were inactive because the person who owned the account was deceased, and since Twitter does not currently have a way to memorialize an account, they admitted that the purge would affect those accounts as well.
In a tweet through the company's Twitter Support account, Twitter reassured the community that it is delaying the cleanup until the company creates a new feature for the service that allows for the memorialization of accounts.
We've heard you on the impact that this would have on the accounts of the deceased. This was a miss on our part. We will not be removing any inactive accounts until we create a new way for people to memorialize accounts.— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 27, 2019
The company also clarified that when the cleanup does begin, it will only affect accounts in the European Union to start. This is due to the company's GDPR requirements, but cleanup beyond the EU is planned "in the future".
This impacts accounts in the EU only, for now. We've always had an inactive account policy but we haven't enforced it consistently. We're starting with the EU in part due to local privacy regulations (eg, GDPR).— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 27, 2019
In comparison, Facebook has had a memorialization feature for its account for years. It's good that Twitter has finally recognized the importance of such a feature and prioritized it, especially before any accounts were lost.
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