Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Deleting Inactive Twitter Accounts

Elon Musk (via John Scott-Railton):

We’re purging accounts that have had no activity at all for several years, so you will probably see follower count drop.

John Carmack:

I may be reading this incorrectly, but if you are actually deleting inactive accounts and all their historic tweets, I would STRONGLY urge you to reconsider.

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!

Some may scoff at any allusion between Twitter and ancient libraries, but while the burning of the library of Alexandria was a tragedy, scrolls and books that were tossed in the trash just because nobody wanted to keep them are kind of worse.

Save it all!

I did not appreciate how excited many people are about freeing up old usernames. That doesn’t change the point about preserving the old tweets — maybe rename the old account to include the year of creation.

However, tossing old names back into the free pool just starts another land grab. People camping on hundreds of freely claimed usernames has always been one of the scummier aspects of the internet.


There’s also the issue of people who have died and their accounts have been turned into a kind of memorial, not only would deleting them be devastating to their loved ones it would also allow people to impersonate the dead person…

There was also a story about this in 2019, the Internet Archive offered to step in, and then Twitter backtracked.


Update (2023-05-24): James Vincent (via John Gruber):

Earlier this year on the 8th of May I deleted all my tweets, just under 5,000 of them. I know the exact day because I tweeted about it.

This morning, though, I discovered that Twitter has restored a handful of my old re-tweets; interactions I know I scrubbed from my profile. Those re-tweets were gone. I remember surveying my bare timeline with satisfaction before thinking, “great, time to draw attention to myself.” But now they’re back.

8 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

It's so funny to watch when Musk insists on starting the OODA loop on Act.

He's his own worst enemy.

Beatrix Willius

Just delete everything and let Twatter finally die.

Old Unix Geek

Well it looks more likely, Beatrix, that you will get your wish.

Twitter's new CEO is apparently a WEF executive board member who doesn't believe in free speech but in pleasing advertisers and large investors like Blackrock.

This notion that companies will decide what's good for society seems eerily similar to fascism to me, and quite far from democracy where individuals make such decisions collectively.

[…] Deleting Inactive Twitter Accounts Michael Tsai […]

Elon? As in the same free speech advocate that censors things at the behest of foreign governments? I don't think the new CEO will make much of a difference on that front.

I think overpaying for a company where you refuse to do any due diligence and then losing half of its value in roughly seven months is a pretty damn impressive tank job. Slow clap…

Old Unix Geek

@Nathan: Elon Musk has said that limits to free speech should be the result of a legislative process in a country, not made on the whims of Twitter itself. Turkey's courts said that some content was illegal, so Twitter blocked it in Turkey. I do not see why this is not principled behavior.

Context: Erdogan is running for reelection. The West wants him gone, and Turks believe the West is interfering in his election. An example of Western interference is an article in the British Economist entitled: "Erdogan must go".

Given that Americans have been hysterical about unproven allegations of "Russian interference" in their elections going on 6 years, perhaps, if you are an American, you can sympathize with the Turks' concerns? That doesn't mean you have to like Erdogan.

By writing this, I am presuming you are open to revising your thinking. But if you just want to justify your preexisting views then I've wasted 5 minutes of my life.

"Given that Americans have been hysterical about unproven allegations of "Russian interference""

First sentence of 2nd paragraph of Volume 1 of the Muller Report - "The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion."

OUG is the Dunning-Kruger king; you're a very smart lad on many things but definitely not on many other things (such as this).

Old Unix Geek


The whole story has always seemed fantastical to me. To believe it, you had to believe:

1/ that Wikileaks was a Russian operation. I don't.
2/ that the Steele Dossier was real. In fact it was bullshit, which, if you actually read it, which I did when it came out on Buzzfeed, was completely and utterly obvious. Now it turns out the Democrats/Clintons paid for this rubbish.
3/ that $100,000 on Facebook ads from the "Internet Research Agency" and social media posts made a material difference whereas the billion spent by each candidate didn't.

But instead of providing actual evidence to prove your point, you provide me with a quote from someone you consider to be an authority, and his redacted version of events from 2019.

There are good reasons to doubt the intelligence agencies' version of events that prove a "Russian hack". For instance, the data transfer speeds of the so called "Russian Hack" of Hillary's emails matches USB transfer speeds better than Internet speeds, as you'd know if you truly cared to investigate the story. So much easier to accuse someone of being the Dunning Kruger King and pretend you know the truth.

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