Twitter to Dormant Account Holders: Use ‘em or Lose ‘em

Usernames that have not been signed in for 6 months by Dec. 11 will be claimed

You have until Dec. 11 ... ChrisGorgio/iStock

Twitter is taking steps to clean up inactive accounts on its platform and make the usernames of those accounts available again.

The social network is sending out emails to holders of inactive accounts, with the subject line, “Don’t lose access to @(username),” reading: “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.”

A Twitter spokesperson said in an email, “As part of our commitment to serve the public conversation, we’re working to clean up inactive accounts to present more accurate, credible information that people can trust across Twitter. Part of this effort is encouraging people to actively login 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.”

Chris Welch of The Verge pointed out that these accounts don’t necessarily have to tweet to keep their handles, and they are only required to follow the instructions in the email above, adding that usernames with fewer than five characters are no longer supported by the social network.

UPDATED Nov. 27, 3:50 p.m. ET: Twitter responded to concerns over the move in a series of tweets Wednesday.

The social network said the change only impacts accounts in the European Union, for now, in part due to the General Data Protection Regulation, but it may be extended to other regions in the future.

Twitter also responded to concerns about accounts belonging to deceased people, and loved ones who wanted to keep those accounts active in some way, tweeting, “We’ve heard you on the impact that this would have on the accounts of the deceased. This was a miss on our part. We will not be removing any inactive accounts until we create a new way for people to memorialize accounts.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.