The Great Twitter Purge Is Coming

A great Twitter purge is impending as Twitter CEO Elon Musk tweeted that they are planning to purge accounts that have had no activity at all for several years.

Twitter is promising to purge its many inactive accounts. Again.

“Twitter will soon start freeing the name space of 1.5 billion accounts,” CEO Elon Musk tweeted yester…oh, sorry, that was five months ago. Here’s yesterday’s tweet: “We’re purging accounts that have had no activity at all for several years, so you will probably see follower count drop.” 

Speaking as a David Meyer who has occasionally been annoyed that some namesake set up the @davidmeyer Twitter account in 2011, tweeted “Just created an account,” and then disappeared, I can certainly see the value in such a purge (though overall I remain happy with @superglaze, a handle I’ve been using online for nearly three decades now). The question is whether Musk can avoid the very well-signposted pitfalls that are associated with clearing out dormant accounts.

Ye Olde Twitter, which had hinted at such a move as far back as 2010, said definitively in 2019 that it would deactivate all accounts that had not been signed into for six months. It swiftly abandoned that plan after many pointed out that Twitter (unlike Facebook) has no memorialization plan for the accounts of dead people, which surviving relatives often visit for comfort. “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 tweeted.  And then, crickets, until Musk came along last year. 

A rumor has spread shortly before the announcement of the company’s new CEO, Linda Yaccarino, that they will turn Twitter into a dating site.

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