The great Twitter 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. 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.
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.
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