Twitter has quietly changed the way tweets that have been embedded on a web page look once they have been deleted by the author. Previously, deleted tweets still appeared on external websites as text in a blockquote, but Twitter changed that to make these deleted tweets appear as a blank box, as seen in the feature image above.
Software engineer Kevin Marks reported on the change yesterday (via The Verge), which has since been confirmed by Twitter senior product manager Eleanor Harding. “We’re doing this to better respect when people have chosen to delete their Tweets. Very soon it’ll have better messaging that explains why the content is no longer available,” Harding tweeted.
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Anyway, the consequences of this change are quite important as this means that deleted tweets will now disappear from the Internet and leave weird blanks on web pages that cited them. As Marks put it, this is Twitter “tampering with the public record.”
All in all, it’s pretty surprising that Twitter make this change without notifying users beforehand, and it could push users to stop embedding tweets and use screenshots instead. The company made a big step forward earlier this week by announcing that it’s finally working on an Edit feature, but the company is making two steps back with this change regarding deleted tweets.