The great Twitter purge of 2023 has been announced

Martin Brinkmann
May 9, 2023
Updated • May 9, 2023

The social messaging service Twitter plans to purge inactive accounts in the near future to free up handles on the site. Elon Musk confirmed the plan on Twitter yesterday, stating "We’re purging accounts that have had no activity at all for several years, so you will probably see follower count drop".

Twitter was founded in 2006 and was recently acquired by Elon Musk. The service is now owned and operated by X Corp, an America-based company.

Users who sign-up for a Twitter account select a handle during account creation. This handle can't be used by other Twitter users anymore. While there is still the option to change the display name on Twitter, which do not have to be unique, it is not possible to assign an already taken handle to an account.

The purging of inactive accounts might impact the follower count of active users on Twitter. John Carmack, best known for his work at ID Software, urged Musk to reconsider, if the purging would include the historic tweets of the account.

Musk replied that this was not the case. From the little information that is provided at this time, it appears that handles will be purged while a handle's historic tweets will be archived.

Several questions remain unanswered at this stage. Musk did not reveal when the purging is starting nor any parameters related to this. Accounts needed to be inactive for "several years", but specifics have not been provided. It is also unclear how tweets by inactive users are displayed on Twitter. Are these displayed with the visual name only or an inactive indicator? Can other users reply to archived tweets? Lastly, Musk did not reveal information about the accounts of deceased people and whether these will be handled like inactive accounts.

Closing Words

The great Twitter account purge of 2023 will free up handles and may reduce the number of followers of active accounts. Musk did not reveal the number of inactive accounts that will be purged, but the number is likely high.

Twitter users who have not used their account for years may sign-in to the account once to prevent it from being purged.

Now You: do you use Twitter?

The great Twitter account purge of 2023 has been announced
Article Name
The great Twitter account purge of 2023 has been announced
The social messaging service Twitter plans to purge inactive accounts in the near future to free up handles on the site.
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  1. John G. said on May 9, 2023 at 11:13 pm

    Twitter is hell and Linkedin provides the right people to enter in it. And then Facebook/Instagram to say how they are after receiving the daily morning pineapple, as seen at “Little Nicky”.

  2. TelV said on May 9, 2023 at 10:16 pm

    Just to confuse the issue even more, the following statement appears on the Twitter Help Center:

    How does Twitter determine inactivity?

    Inactivity is based on logging in. Please note that you may not be able to tell whether an account is currently inactive, as not all signs of account activity are publicly visible.

  3. Hitomi said on May 9, 2023 at 5:06 pm

    Good because if you want to store data forever use the internet archive or a local copy. I just wish all the outdated piles on inane ramblings would stop clutter search engines one day.

    Twitter is social media and thus vapid.

    1. Anonymous said on May 9, 2023 at 6:53 pm

      maybe in your perceived world, but if you break your bubble, youll see that twitter has a lot of interesting and valuable stuff thats worth to be kept. not only the content but also the timing of content is a valuable source, be it IT / tech, science or things Historians have interest in. local copy or inernet achive may help in certain cases but are definitely no replacement if you need the whole picture.
      that aside, as it seems its only about handles and not the (public available) content. Still a loss for at least historians if the original author cannot be verified anymore

      1. Hitomi said on May 10, 2023 at 1:01 am

        papers or reference work =/= unrolling 20 posts on twitter for anecdotal evidence

        Any blog is better than this. I know quite a few, and they work in my RSS reader. Now you come with the twitter bubble. Twitter is like a dumpsite, unless you manually inspect posts they get buried under piles of dirt. If I am not reading my RSS during holidays and return, I can follow up. If I do the same on Twitter it is jerking around infiniscroll. Amazing “experience”.

  4. Someone said on May 9, 2023 at 3:57 pm

    Well, most normies have more than at least 10 acc on whatever they call “social” medias. For older
    but also for younger gens, forums or just chat channels (like discord) is always an solution.

    1. Someone said on May 9, 2023 at 10:04 pm

      Well, reviewing this article, I came into this question; does Twitter even Elon, know how much
      importand was the Twitter back at least 12 yrs and more ? Those old, forgotten accounts was
      the way that Twitter (without political and uselles news) became that strong all that decade. Had the same philosophy of Facebook, in his roots; find friends and normies like you.

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