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Twitter hits pause on plan to delete inactive accounts

It won't remove accounts until it finds a way to memorialize users who have died.

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Twitter is temporarily holding off on plans to remove inactive accounts. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Twitter shared an update Wednesday on its plan to remove accounts of users who haven't signed in for more than six months. The social media site initially said it would begin removing accounts for inactive users who don't log in by Dec. 11. But in an update posted to Twitter, the company said it would hold off on that plan until it finds a way to memorialize users who have died. 

"We've heard you on the impact that this would have on the accounts of the deceased," Twitter Support said in a tweet. "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."

A company representative on Tuesday said Twitter started reaching out to users who haven't logged in to the site for more than six months to notify them about possible account removal, and noted that the accounts would be taken down over several months, rather than all at once. The usernames of deleted accounts would eventually be up for grabs.

"As part of our commitment to serve the public conversation, we're working to clean up inactive accounts to present more accurate, credible information people can trust across Twitter," the representative said via email. "Part of this effort is encouraging people to actively log in and use Twitter when they register an account, as stated in our Inactive Accounts Policy."

In its clarifying tweet on Wednesday, Twitter said the move would only impact accounts in the European Union, for the time being. "We've always had an inactive account policy but we haven't enforced it consistently," the company tweeted. "We're starting with the EU in part due to local privacy regulations (eg, GDPR)."

Twitter said it could expand enforcement of its inactive accounts policy in the future to comply with additional regulations in other countries. 

The company hasn't said exactly when usernames of removed accounts will become available to existing users. 

First published Nov. 26 at 2:46 p.m. PT.
Update, 3:24 p.m. PT: Adds that users must log in by Dec. 11 to prevent account removal. 
Update, Nov. 27: Adds more info about inactive accounts; adds that Twitter has put the plan to delete inactive accounts on hold.

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