Science

Elon Musk says Twitter will delete inactive users’ accounts, which could include your dead relatives

On Monday, Twitter CEO Elon Musk announced plans to delete accounts that the company deems inactive. He also warned that users may see their number of followers drop as a result of the digital house cleaning. “We’re purging accounts that have had no activity at all for several years,” Musk tweeted via his personal account.

The decision prompted swift criticism from both fans and critics of Musk’s chaotic tenure at the company, with some users pointing towards the emotional and historical implications in the wholesale erasures. For many, the Twitter profiles and messages of deceased relatives and loved ones function as digital memorials. Since Musk’s announcement, some users describe scrambling to archive the data before it disappears.

A new memorialization method was never announced, although in responding to one critic yesterday, Musk claimed purged accounts “will be archived… But it is important to free up abandoned handles.” Musk has not yet offered an estimated timeline of when username deletions might occur, nor how a purged account archive would work. As of writing, it is still possible to download an archive of one’s own personal account.