After massive criticism, Twitter has put its plan to delete inactive accounts by 11 December on ice for the time being. The criticism mainly concerned the deletion of accounts of deceased persons.
Deletion of inactive accounts is considered by Twitter itself to be a measure to achieve “more accurate and credible information” on the platform. The extent to which inactive accounts make information inaccurate or untrustworthy was not explained. In practice, deletion would have two main advantages: Firstly, the user database would become considerably leaner; moreover, some attractive user names, which have been registered but not used so far, would become available again.
The announcement of the deletion action raised questions about the handling of accounts of deceased persons. If the deceased have not settled their digital estate, the accounts inevitably lie idle – after all, the descendants generally have no access data and not necessarily the right to receive them. Remembrance of deceased persons on their Twitter accounts would no longer be possible if the accounts were deleted due to inactivity caused by death. Twitter has now responded to this criticism and announced that it will refrain from deleting the accounts until a solution to the problem has been found.
The deletion action should only affect accounts of users from the European Union. In the future, the company wants to implement its own guidelines for inactive accounts outside the EU as well. Until something happens at all, however, a solution is to be found to the problem of the dead.