Twitter says it won’t delete tweets from those who have died

Twitter has paused its plans to delete accounts that haven’t been logged into for six months, after an outcry over protecting the accounts of those who have died.

The story began earlier this week, when Twitter announced it was going to rub out accounts that haven’t been logged into within six months.

Twitter emailed owners of those inactive accounts, warning them that they have to sign in by 11 December, lest those accounts be history and their usernames be offered up to others.

The email, sent with a subject line saying “Don’t lose access to @(username),” went on to say that you’ve got to log in and agree to the platform’s current terms of use, if you want to keep your account:

Hello,

To continue using Twitter, you’ll need to agree to the current Terms, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Use. This not only lets you make the best decisions about the information that you share with us, it also allows you to keep using your Twitter account. But first, you need to log in and follow the on-screen prompts before Dec. 11, 2019, otherwise your account will be removed from Twitter.

Twitter told The Verge that the purge was part of its efforts to scrub itself clean of a thick layer of sludge: what one assumes is the machine learning-based optimization of messaging and micro-targeting, the fake and misleading news, the deepfakes, the bots – all of which it pointed to when it recently banned political ads.

This, from a Twitter spokesperson:

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. 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.

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.

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