How To Protect Your Old Tweets From Big Data

Earlier this week, Twitter announced that it would allow individuals, developers, small businesses and corporations to buy access to historical tweets – a fact that has privacy advocates’ hackles up.

If you’re concerned with who’s reading your old tweets, here’s how to delete them and protect them from prying eyes.

Twitter will start selling access to tweets from as far back as January 2010 through its data partner, Datasift. The move means that any tweets from up to 2 years ago that you thought had disappeared into the ether have now been now unlocked for marketers to dig through.

If you’re concerned about this, there are ways to get rid of your old tweets so marketers can’t get their hands on them. However, there’s a catch: Twitter itself doesn’t let you delete your old tweets without deleting your entire account.

The only way to erase your Twitter history is by using a third party service. And thankfully you’ve got a number to choose from.

One of the services that has been around the longest is TwitWipe. Created in 2009, TwitWipe allows you to delete all your tweets in one go. Once you authorize it to access your account, you just have to click the confirmation button and it will work its magic. Once it’s done, all of your tweets – old and new – will be gone, and you can start fresh.

You can also check out TweetEraser, which allows you to mass delete tweets from your account. As opposed to TwitWipe, which deletes all of your tweets, TweetEraser allows you to filter tweets to delete by date, keyword and more.

There are several other applications out there that you can try out, but these two offer the most functionality and the most up-time (as third-party apps tend to come and go).

Just remember, if you use them: once a tweet is gone, it’s gone. It’s wiped from Twitter’s servers and you can’t get it back, so delete with care.

(Delete button image via Shutterstock)