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X seems to have deleted years of old Twitter images

The social media platform formerly known as Twitter and recently rebranded as X appears to be having trouble showing images posted on the site between 2011 and 2014.

The issue came to widespread attention on Saturday when X user Tom Coates noted how the famous selfie posted by Ellen DeGeneres at the Oscars in 2014, which quickly broke the “most retweets” record, was no longer displaying. Later reports suggested the image had been restored, though, at the time of writing, we’re not seeing it.

Links posted during the same time period using Twitter’s built-in URL shortener are also failing to function properly.

In a series of posts on X, Coates said: “Even if the images start to come back, that doesn’t mean it was ‘just a bug.’ It’s just as plausible that they’d test something out and rapidly choose to backtrack when they saw the response.”

As pointed out by Forbes, Twitter didn’t support native image uploads until 2011, so before then, a number of image-hosting services came along to help out. One of those — TwitPic — closed in 2014, so those hosted images have long been gone, but it now appears that images posted directly to Twitter between 2011 to 2014 have also disappeared.

One suggestion is that something went horribly wrong as the company tried to migrate the site to as part of a recent rebranding exercise.

Images posted directly to Twitter after 2016 appear to be unaffected and are therefore still viewable on the platform, with The Verge noting that this coincides with when Twitter added “enhanced URL enrichment,” which showed previews for links and allowed photos to be added without affecting the 140-character limit.

Truth be told, it’s not entirely clear why old images on X aren’t showing, and there is a chance that they’ll be restored before too long. We would reach out to X to ask, but since Elon Musk acquired the company in October in a deal worth $44 billion, its media contact address responds only with a poop emoji.

In other X news from recent days, Musk said the platform will soon remove the ability to block users — except for direct messages — because “it makes no sense.” Anti-bullying activist Monica Lewinsky called on X to retain the feature, describing it as a “critical tool to keep people safe online.”

Responding, X CEO Linda Yaccarino said: “Our users’ safety on X is our number one priority. And we’re building something better than the current state of block and mute. Please keep the feedback coming.”

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