Twitter Changes How Deleted Tweets Look on the Web

Posted on April 7, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Cloud, Social with 4 Comments

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.

As Marks, pointed out, Twitter has yet to update its API documentation, which as of this writing still says that tweets embedded on a webpage will use a blockquote fallback if the author deletes them. Marks also explained that Twitter is actually using its Javascript to edit webpages and make deleted tweets look blank, and that the text in the tweet will still appear after turning off Javascript in your browser.

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.

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Comments (4)

4 responses to “Twitter Changes How Deleted Tweets Look on the Web”

  1. dftf

    Many news websites I use already just use screenshots of Tweets, rather-than embeds.

    As for the accusation that Twitter is "tampering with the public record"... well, I'd have chosen a different set of words myself, as it will play-into the "private-platform" and "censorship" arguments some have. Maybe "will cause rendering-issues on some websites", or something, might have been better.

  2. lezmaka

    To me it's more surprising that deleted tweets were even still visible anywhere at all.

  3. lvthunder

    That explains the article I read about some twitter employee melting down over Elon Musk joining the board. They embedded the tweets, but then they probably were deleted.

  4. bats

    That's because there is a new sheriff in Twitter-town. Hopefully he'll be able to make everything fair.