Twitter plans to cull inactive accounts

·3-min read
There has not yet been a suggestion of how freed-up Twitter handles will be leveraged, or if this will be used as a way to attract more people to Twitter’s Blue paid subscription (PA Wire)
There has not yet been a suggestion of how freed-up Twitter handles will be leveraged, or if this will be used as a way to attract more people to Twitter’s Blue paid subscription (PA Wire)

Twitter CEO Elon Musk has announced inactive Twitter accounts will be removed from the platform.

“We’re purging accounts that have had no activity at all for several years, so you will probably see follower count drops,” Musk wrote on Twitter on Monday.

He did not detail how recently Twitter users have had to log in to be considered an active account. However, the Twitter website suggests logging in at least once a month.

“To keep your account active, be sure to log in at least every 30 days. Accounts may be permanently removed due to prolonged inactivity,” the website reads.

It seems highly unlikely Twitter will ever apply such a strict time window in reality, given Musk’s stated aim for this purge.

“It is important to free up abandoned handles,” Musk wrote on Twitter. There has been no announcement of the timescale of this plan, but his wording suggests the cull may have already begun.

Will my Twitter account be closed?

The plan has attracted criticism from some big names in tech, including games industry legend and former Oculus VR CTO John Carmack.

“I would STRONGLY urge you to reconsider,” Carmack wrote on Twitter. “Letting people know how many “active” followers they have is good information, but deleting the output of inactive accounts would be terrible. I still see people liking ten-year-old tweets I made, but the threads are already often fragmented with deleted or unavailable tweets. Don’t make it worse!”

In response, Musk wrote “the accounts will be archived,” suggesting the content of tweets will be preserved. However, it’s not clear how this will work if someone else is to take over the Twitter handle in question.

Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham wrote: “It would be a tragic mistake to delete old tweets just because the accounts that made them are inactive.” Musk’s former partner Grimes replied to Carmack, saying: “I agree it’s worth preserving the libraries from the ancient internet!”

Is Twitter Blue worth it?

There has not yet been a suggestion of how freed-up Twitter handles will be leveraged, or if this will be used as a way to attract more people to Twitter’s Blue paid subscription.

Mashable reported last week that only 68,157 remained of the original wave of 150,000 Twitter Blue subscribers. Around 55 per cent of them had abandoned the subscription, as of the end of April.

The total number of Twitter Blue subscribers is estimated at anything from 500,000 to 680,000, depending on the source. In November 2022, just after Musk acquired the platform for $44 billion (£35bn), he claimed Twitter had 250 million daily active users.

Bloomberg reported that Twitter advertising revenues had dropped by as much as 89 per cent since Musk’s takeover. Even before the acquisition, Twitter had not seen a profitable year since 2019, accruing a $1.14bn (£900 million) loss in 2020 and a $221m (£175m) loss in 2021.