Twitter has announced a plan to purge inactive accounts in an effort to encourage frequent use of the platform and free up old usernames. On Tuesday, the company warned users that if they have not logged in for the last sixth months, they may soon lose their account altogether. So far, details on this effort are still lacking.
Twitter announced its new inactive account policy on Tuesday on its website. It said that infrequent users who do not want to lose their accounts should "be sure to log in and Tweet at least every 6 months. Accounts may be permanently removed due to prolonged inactivity."
The company said that "inactivity" essentially amounts to not logging in. However, it also acknowledged that "not all signs of account activity are publicly visible." For tangentially related inquiries, the company directed users to its trademark policy and other Help Center pages.
Spokespeople for the company told news outlets that this was a part of Twitter's newly invigorated effort to present clear, accurate information in the age of online manipulation. This inactive account purge follows on the heels of CEO Jack Dorsey's announcement that Twitter would no longer take money for political promotions, for example.
"We're working to clean up inactive accounts to present more accurate, credible information people can trust across Twitter," a spokesperson told CNN Business. "Part of this effort is encouraging people to actively log in."
Understanding that inactive users may not even see these warnings, a spokesperson told The Verge that the company is reaching out to users who may be effected in other ways if possible.
A political message earns reach when people decide to follow an account or retweet. Paying for reach removes that decision, forcing highly optimized and targeted political messages on people. We believe this decision should not be compromised by money.— jack 🌍🌏🌎 (@jack) October 30, 2019
"We have begun proactive outreach to many accounts who have not logged into Twitter in over six months to inform them that their accounts may be permanently removed due to prolonged inactivity," they said.
This is expected to be a months-long, ongoing process rather than an all-in-one purge. The Verge reportedly asked Twitter how this might effect accounts of the deceased, and the company said it is "thinking about ways" to "memorialize someone's Twitter account once they have passed on."0comments
This is Twitter's second big platform announcement in a month. On Oct. 30, the company revealed it would not allow political advertising anymore, with an official policy coming. The new rule went into effect last week, banning any ad that references "a candidate, political party, elected or appointed government official, election, referendum, ballot measure, legislation, regulation, directive or judicial outcome."
Twitter's CEO and co-founder Dorsey wrote that "political message reach should be earned not bought," and that political groups should "earn" placement in a newsfeed rather than buying it. He explained how advancements in A.I. and deep fake editing had influenced these decisions.