Twitter announces the elimination of inactive accounts but promises to save the accounts of deceased users

Screenshot of the new Twitter inactive account policy
Screenshot of the new Twitter inactive account policy

Twitter has changed its terms of use and now requires an access at least every 6 months. In the event of prolonged inactivity, the accounts will be removed but this will happen gradually in an operation that could take place over several months. The expiration date to be sure not to end up under Twitter’s axe is December 11 and from that day people who make little use of this service but want to keep their account will have to remember at least to access it. The first protests came in particular regarding profiles of dead people and a new tweet from the support service reported that the elimination will not begin before they have found a solution.

Users who make little use of Twitter are supposed to receive an email soon, if they haven’t already received it, where they’re advised that they must log in to their account and follow the instructions shown before December 11, 2019, otherwise their account will be removed from Twitter. The operation will have a “geographic” management, in the sense that for now it will concern the accounts of users in the European Union, also due to problems related to the community norms regarding privacy, the so-called GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

For Twitter, the important figures are concern active users, daily and monthly. This means that this cleaning operation will have no negative consequences on this social media. On the other hand, users who are followed by these inactive accounts will lose followers when they get deleted. It’s only a purely arithmetic drop because an inactive user clicks on no links, gives no likes and leaves no comments, which means no engagement, what makes a follower really useful.

After this announcement came feedback and in particular the protests concerning the elimination of accounts belonging to deceased persons. On the British media the voice of Brendan Cox, widower of the MP Jo Fox, killed in 2016 by a right-wing extremist, who would like to keep his wife’s tweets to show them to their two children, was in the spotlight. Other cases of dead people were the focus of protests and convinced Twitter executives to create a way to save these accounts so relatives won’t be forced to periodically log in if they have the password.

Twitter has long been at the center of controversy concerning cyberbullying and is considered by many people in decline. Cleaning up inactive accounts is one of the steps that executives intend to pursue to improve the active users’ experience. The hope is to attract new users, who could choose usernames that right now belong to inactive users. Along with other new functions currently being studied or tested, it could help Twitter recover active users and reputation.

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