Twitter pauses plan to clear its platform of inactive accounts

Earlier this week Twitter said that from December 11, it would start deleting accounts on its platform that haven’t been logged into for at least six months.

Since then, the company has been clarifying a number of issues linked to its planned cull of dormant accounts, with CEO Jack Dorsey pointing users to a series of tweets from Twitter Support designed to clear up “all the confusion we caused.”

For starters, Twitter said that after looking at comments from users, it realized it hadn’t considered how to deal with the accounts of those who have passed away. In some cases, those close to the deceased account holder may wish to see their Twitter posts remain online and accessible to all.

As a result, the company has now decided to hit the pause button on the deletion process until it comes up with a way to preserve the accounts of users who have passed away.

“We’ve heard you on the impact that this would have on the accounts of the deceased,” Twitter  said in a message posted on its own platform. “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.”

Facebook already offers a way to memorialize accounts when someone passes away, and now Twitter looks set to follow suit.

The company also said that when the deletion process does get underway, it will focus first on accounts set up in the European Union, in part due to local privacy regulations linked to the E.U.’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). Other locations are likely to follow later.

Twitter will send an email to the address linked to the dormant account to warn the user that if they don’t log in within a specified time frame, their account could be deleted.

It means that at some point after an inactive account is taken offline, the account name will be available for someone else to use when they sign up to the microblogging service.

Twitter said that while it has a long-standing policy to delete dormant accounts, up to now it hasn’t enforced it consistently.

But once it has figured a way to memorialize accounts, a more determined effort to clear its platform of inactive accounts will begin, which the company said will enable it “to present more accurate, credible information people can trust across Twitter. “

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