Twitter rethinks plan to delete inactive accounts amid concerns about dead users

Twitter is rethinking part of its plan to remove inactive accounts from the service starting next month after receiving feedback that it would be effectively...

Posted: Nov 27, 2019 8:41 AM
Updated: Nov 27, 2019 3:45 PM

Twitter is rethinking part of its plan to remove inactive accounts from the service starting next month after receiving feedback that it would be effectively eliminating posts from some people who've died.

'We've heard you on the impact that this would have on the accounts of the deceased,' Twitter said in a statement on Wednesday. 'This was a miss on our part.'

The company said it plans to introduce a 'new way' for its users to 'memorialize' accounts on the service. It does not intend to remove inactive accounts prior to the introduction of that feature.

The company's update comes just a day after Twitter warned users who haven't logged in for at least six months that their accounts could soon be gone. Its decision to press pause on that move highlights the struggle tech companies face to manage their platforms while dealing with the potential consequences of every product change.

'We're working to clean up inactive accounts to present more accurate, credible information people can trust across Twitter,' a spokesperson previously told CNN Business. 'Part of this effort is encouraging people to actively log in.'

The move won't affect those who spend time on the domain, but don't necessarily tweet much. Twitter defines activity by logging in, and recognizes that 'not all signs of account activity are publicly visible,' according to policy guidelines outlined on its website.

On Wednesday, the company said the policy would only impact accounts in the European Union. 'We're starting with the EU in part due to local privacy regulations,' the company said.

It's unclear when exactly accounts will start being purged, or how many users will be affected. The company said it is reaching out to 'many accounts' that don't meet its requirements, but declined to share a timeline or an estimate of the number it considers to be inactive.

These handles will be deactivated over the course of 'many months — not all at once,' the company added.

The push against inactive users highlights a broader effort to tidy up the platform. Twitter has pulled the plug on large numbers of users before — although for entirely different reasons.

Policymakers have long called on the tech company to crack down on fake pages or feeds that are used to spread disinformation and other abuse. And the company routinely takes down spam or automated pages, and says its 'focus is increasingly on proactively identifying problematic accounts and behavior.'

In January, for example, it revealed it had suspended several networks of accounts that it said had been found to be potentially 'connected to sources within Iran, Venezuela and Russia. And last year, it said it would remove tens of millions of accounts that were previously locked due to suspicious activity after a New York Times report highlighted the proliferation of fake followers on Twitter's platform.

While the latest move would dent the company's overall user base, it is unlikely to hurt two of Twitter's most important metrics: daily and monthly active users. Like other social media networks, Twitter's numbers are carefully tracked by Wall Street each quarter to gauge the company's ongoing reach and relevance.

— Seth Fiegerman and Ahiza Garcia contributed to this report.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 309223

Reported Deaths: 7153
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21005250
Hinds19989411
Harrison17590303
Rankin13388277
Jackson13169243
Madison9965212
Lee9900170
Jones8319161
Forrest7554149
Lauderdale7232237
Lowndes6306144
Lamar614685
Lafayette6081118
Washington5296133
Bolivar4778130
Oktibbeha458097
Panola4461103
Pearl River4447142
Warren4310119
Marshall4302103
Pontotoc417672
Monroe4063132
Union405175
Neshoba4009176
Lincoln3892109
Hancock373785
Leflore3471124
Sunflower332090
Tate325984
Pike3226105
Scott311973
Yazoo305369
Alcorn301566
Itawamba297977
Copiah294365
Coahoma290779
Simpson290486
Tippah285368
Prentiss276659
Marion266479
Leake262473
Wayne261541
Grenada257385
Covington255380
Adams247082
Newton246161
George238947
Winston226181
Tishomingo222867
Jasper220248
Attala213673
Chickasaw205857
Holmes187272
Clay183354
Stone179733
Clarke178177
Tallahatchie176240
Calhoun165632
Yalobusha160236
Smith159734
Walthall131143
Greene129633
Lawrence126823
Noxubee126634
Montgomery125842
Perry125238
Amite121041
Carroll121026
Webster113932
Jefferson Davis105932
Tunica103425
Claiborne101430
Benton97525
Kemper95728
Humphreys94732
Franklin83123
Quitman78916
Choctaw74417
Wilkinson65329
Jefferson64928
Sharkey49817
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 522512

Reported Deaths: 10790
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson755371494
Mobile39129799
Madison34124500
Tuscaloosa25408444
Montgomery24059573
Shelby23225242
Baldwin20730302
Lee15638166
Calhoun14358311
Morgan14171273
Etowah13705348
Marshall12012220
Houston10416279
Elmore10024203
Limestone9862148
Cullman9509191
St. Clair9486236
Lauderdale9280233
DeKalb8762183
Talladega8127173
Walker7151276
Autauga6763106
Jackson6762110
Blount6532133
Colbert6236132
Coffee5436113
Dale4781111
Russell431239
Franklin421382
Chilton4130110
Covington4069115
Tallapoosa3922148
Escambia390374
Dallas3528150
Chambers3519122
Clarke347360
Marion3076100
Pike306676
Lawrence296395
Winston273272
Bibb256761
Marengo248561
Geneva246475
Pickens233259
Barbour227155
Hale218675
Butler213268
Fayette209660
Henry188444
Cherokee182744
Randolph177841
Monroe173140
Washington165538
Macon156548
Clay150255
Crenshaw149557
Cleburne147041
Lamar140034
Lowndes137353
Wilcox124727
Bullock122040
Conecuh109728
Perry107726
Sumter103332
Coosa99428
Greene91434
Choctaw58824
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