Twitter boss Elon Musk says the social media platform will start to remove accounts that have been left inactive for several years. Musk said it was important to “free up abandoned handles.”
He warned users were likely to see a drop in followers following the exercise.
Musk had previously expressed interest in purging inactive accounts late last year, revealing Twitter would soon start freeing the user names of 1.5 billion accounts, adding that inactive accounts would be deleted in the process.
“We’re purging accounts that have had no activity at all for several years, so you will probably see follower count drop,” announced Musk in a tweet. However, it is not known when Twitter will start the purging process and how it will be handled.
According to Twitter’s inactive account policy, users must log in at least every 30 days and accounts may be “permanently removed” if left dormant.
However, as recently as April, the policy said users only needed to log in every six months, according to the Internet Archive which takes snapshots of web pages.
Some users expressed disgruntlement at Musk’s announcement, asking him to reconsider as the move would be terrible.
“Letting people know how many “active” followers they have is good information, but deleting the output of inactive accounts would be terrible,” said John Carmack.
“I still see people liking ten-year-old tweets I made, but the threads are already often fragmented with deleted or unavailable tweets. Don’t make it worse!”
Others feel the move will deny them access to the accounts of their loved ones who may have passed on, while others asked if there was a way to “memorialize accounts of deceased people.”
“Please don’t delete accounts of people who have passed on… it’s an important memory for many of us who have lost family who were active,” responded Angad Singh.
My son's account is inactive because he died nearly 2 years ago. I would be devastated if his account were to be deleted – it is one of the few things I have left.
— sharon g-t (@glamvicar) May 9, 2023
Archiving may be the answer
Musk, however, has hinted this could be avoided by archiving, rather than deleting, accounts. The big boss did not specify how the company would archive the tweets from old accounts or how the platform would still be able to access them in the aftermath.
Many other users had ideas on how to keep the tweets from old accounts alive, as they might serve some form of memorable service to the community. Other users suggested using prefixes to mark accounts as old, while some told peers to just keep their accounts active to avoid deletion.
Since Elon Musk’s acquisition of the micro-blogging platform last year, there have been many changes at the company. He introduced Twitter Blue, a subscription-based verification for users. According to Matt Binder, Twitter Blue is already losing subscribers; out of about 150,000 early subscribers, only 68,157 have stuck around and maintained a paid subscription as of April 30.
With 54.5% of early subscribers abandoning the service, Musk and his executives must be brainstorming ways to address the high churn rate. A study from subscription management company Recurly suggests the average annual churn rate is only 5.57% for subscription-based businesses.