Delete old tweets so they don't come back to haunt you

Learn from director James Gunn's "mistake" and wipe your Twitter slate clean. Here's how.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

A scorched-earth approach: TweetDelete will erase up to 3,200 old tweets from your Twitter account.


Late last month, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was fired by Disney after a series of Gunn's old, off-color tweets resurfaced.

Unfortunately, it didn't seem to matter that some of the tweets dated back a full 10 years, or that Gunn had previously apologized for them. Disney wasted no time in giving him the ax.

The moral of the story: Anything you say online can come back to haunt you. So now it's time to ask yourself: Are there any skeletons in your own Twitter closet? Things you're not proud of or, at the very least, could be damaging to you personally or professionally?

Here's a thought: Don't say dumb things online. Failing that, you may want to dive into your feed and wipe the slate clean, just to be on the safe side. Fortunately, this doesn't have to be a manual exercise -- there's a free service that can do the heavy lifting (and deleting).

First things first: If you want to preserve your old tweets for some reason, it's easy to dump them into an archive. Do this:

Step 1: Open Twitter in a browser, click your profile-pic icon, and then click Settings and privacy.

Step 2: Click Your Twitter Data, enter your password to confirm your identity, then scroll all the way to the bottom.

Step 3: Click Request data. Soon you'll receive an email containing a link to a downloadable archive of your tweets.

Now you're set to delete old tweets. For that, head to the aptly named TweetDelete. This free service will scrub up to 3,200 of the most recent tweets from your account. (That's not an arbitrary number; that's as far back as Twitter will let you go. Read TweetDelete's FAQ page for more information.)

To use it, just click the Sign in with Twitter button and authorize TweetDelete to access your account. (Make sure to read the site's privacy policy and terms & conditions if you have concerns. I found no red flags in my scan of the two pages.)

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Next, set the parameters, starting with how old tweets should be: anywhere from one week to one year. From there, TweetDelete will continue to delete newer tweets (kicking in every few days) until you disable it or revoke its access.

And that's pretty much it. As TweetDelete warns, there's no way to retrieve old tweets once they're deleted. This is definitely the nuclear option.

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