Twitter has apologised for confusion around its recently unveiled plans to cull inactive accounts from its platform.
The company faced a massive public backlash after it announced its plans to delete any account that had not been signed in for more than six months.
Twitter said the cull on inactive accounts was due to regulatory concerns, to clean up inactive accounts and free up usernames. Twitter began issuing emails to inactive accounts to warn their owners their accounts may be permanently deleted due to “prolonged inactivity” if they did not log in before December 11th.
However, the lack of clarity over how the accounts of deceased users would be handled sparked public outcry. Many raised concerns over losing access to the old accounts of friends, partners, relatives, celebrities, Twitter influencers and other users who had died.
If the cull was carried out indiscriminately, tweets from important figures such as Senator John McCain, who died last year, would be erased from the platform.
“We’ve heard you on the impact that this would have on the accounts of the deceased. This was a miss on our part,” the company tweeted yesterday.
“We will not be removing any inactive accounts until we create a new way for people to memorise accounts. We apologise for the confusion and will keep you posted,” the company said.
Unlike Facebook, at present Twitter has no way to memorialise an account after the user has died. A spokesperson for the company told The Verge that “the team is thinking about ways to do this”.
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The company has pledged not to move forward with its planned cull until it has a system in place to memorialise accounts.
In follow-up tweets, the company said it may “broaden the enforcement of our inactivity policy in the future,” but would “communicate with all of you if we do”.
The announcement was well received on the platform with users tweeting thanks to the company for listening to the concerns of its users. “Thank you for treating this matter with sensitivity and respect. It means a lot to so many,” one user tweeted.