Twitter has started removing inactive accounts that didn’t have any activity for several years, Twitter CEO Elon Musk announced yesterday. In a series of tweets, the exec emphasized that Twitter users may see their follower count drops as inactive accounts will be archived, but they won’t be deleted.
According to Twitter’s current inactive account policy, users need to log in at least every 30 days to be considered “active.” However, Musk did say that only accounts that have been inactive for “several years” would be purged.
We’re purging accounts that have had no activity at all for several years, so you will probably see follower count drop
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 8, 2023
Musk also said that archiving inactive accounts will make their Twitter handles free to claim for those who want them. However, it’s not exactly clear if and how archived accounts will be visible to the public, especially if their handles get claimed by other users.
As many users pointed out in the replies to Musk’s initial tweet, it’s actually important to preserve old tweets for historical purposes, especially for deceased personalities. Other platforms such as Facebook can automatically “memorialize” an account after becoming aware that its owner has passed away. This is probably something that Twitter should consider.
By freeing up usernames for inactive accounts, Musk probably hopes to make some users come back as well. However, this could also lead to more impersonation issues, which is something that has been plaguing the platform since Twitter made verified checkmarks a paid Twitter Blue perk.