Twitter pauses cull of inactive accounts over concerns for deceased

28 Nov 2019

Image: © wachiwit/

Realising that many users want to keep memorialised accounts of loved ones, Twitter is suspending plans to cull inactive accounts.

Twitter has said accounts belonging to the deceased will not be removed as part of its “clean-up” of inactive profiles until it figures out a way to memorialise these accounts. The social network started warning users who have been inactive on its platform for more than six months that their account risks being deleted as part of a huge “clean-up”.

Some people expressed concern about losing accounts that belonged to someone who died. In response, Twitter on Wednesday night (27 November) said it will not be removing such accounts yet.

“We’ve heard you on the impact that this would have on the accounts of the deceased. This was a miss on our part. We will not be removing any inactive accounts until we create a new way for people to memorialise accounts,” it said in a tweet.

Twitter’s biggest rival, Facebook, allows family and friends of the deceased to memorialise their account, so it can still be viewed and messages can be posted on their page. Twitter said the changes will impact accounts in the EU only, for now.

Why it’s happening

The social network has been reaching out to people with inactive accounts, saying they have until 11 December to log on to the platform in order to prevent the removal.

“We’ve always had an inactive account policy but we haven’t enforced it consistently. We’re starting with the EU in part due to local privacy regulations (eg, GDPR),” Twitter said.

“Beyond complying with GDPR, we may broaden the enforcement of our inactivity policy in the future to comply with other regulations around the world and to ensure the integrity of the service. We will communicate with all of you if we do.”

According to emails received by inactive account holders obtained by the BBC, Twitter’s effort is about ensuring users agree to their updated terms and privacy policies.

“As part of our commitment to serve the public conversation, we’re working to clean up inactive accounts to present more accurate, credible information people can trust across Twitter,” a spokesperson for the social media platform said.

“Part of this effort is encouraging people to actively log in and use Twitter when they register an account, as stated in our Inactive Accounts Policy.”

People are not required to tweet from their account to keep it active, they just need to sign in and follow on-screen prompts.

– PA Media