It is always annoying when you create a unique username for your social media account and realize that it is already taken. So, you resort to adding numbers to the username or changing the spelling. Well, Twitter is finally solving this problem by purging old inactive accounts. But is Elon Musk’s Twitter account purge a clean slate or digital injustice?
Twitter is set to unleash a treasure trove of sought-after usernames by purging inactive accounts, as per tweets from owner Elon Musk. Despite having a policy that demands users log in every 30 days to avoid account deletion, Twitter has yet to put its vast pool of dormant usernames back into circulation.
Elon had previously stated in a tweet he made on 9th December 2022 that “Twitter will soon start freeing the name space of 1.5 billion accounts” further adding “These are obvious account deletions with no tweets & no log in for years” The news of inactive account deletion has been met with many questions and backlashes.
Loss of Valuable Content
The proposed purge has been met with opposition from users who argue that deleting the output of dormant accounts could lead to the fragmentation of threads and the loss of valuable content.
Although the move would provide users with information about the number of “active” followers they have, concerns have been raised about the potential loss of historical records. Many users have highlighted the significance of Twitter as a repository for personal and cultural expression, drawing parallels between the proposed purge and the destruction of ancient libraries.
Twitter user John Carmack asked about his concerns over the loss of valuable content in the comments of Elon Musk’s tweet and Elon responded by saying, “The accounts will be archived” giving users some sense of relief.
While the news has generated buzz, there are concerns among users about the company’s previous commitments to restore suspended accounts. Twitter has promised to put more usernames back into rotation, including accounts that have been suspended, but so far, there has been no large-scale effort to do so.
Many users have expressed frustration with the lack of progress on restoring suspended accounts. These accounts could potentially be valuable for users who want to take over a previously established handle. Additionally, some suspended accounts may have been deactivated due to misunderstandings or errors, leaving users without access to their own content.
Accounts of Deceased Individuals
In addition to the concerns raised over restoring suspended accounts, there has been growing debate about what will happen to the Twitter accounts of deceased individuals and celebrities in the wake of the platform’s account deletion policy. Some of the accounts of deceased celebrities were granted free blue checks recently.
While some argue that deleting inactive accounts belonging to deceased individuals could be seen as a form of erasure, others argue that maintaining these accounts could be inappropriate or insensitive. Additionally, the question of who owns and has the right to control these accounts remains unclear.
Many users felt that Twitter’s decision of purging inactive accounts was a cause for concern, especially when it came to the accounts of deceased individuals and celebrities. While some users discussed, “Is Elon Musk’s Twitter account purge really a clean slate or digital injustice?” other users suggested alternative solutions, such as:
- Change handles to @name_legacy and give them a different color badge so more handles will be free vs archiving all inactive.
- Create a ‘request to create legacy’ feature with the same workflow as report tweet and start releasing handles with zero interactions first.
- Split followers into two categories: All-time followers and Active followers. Show active followers first and fold the All-time number for those who need it.
- Rename the old account to include the year of creation to preserve the old tweets.
- Prefix the name with “Old” or something similar that maintains the original name.
- Require buying at least one month of Twitter Blue if users want to claim an inactive username to prevent land grabs.
- Fix the architecture to handle performance issues rather than doing a purge that can potentially waste valuable insights and thoughts.
Ever since Elon Musk’s X Corp took over Twitter things have changed drastically. As Twitter prepares to undertake its account deletion policy, users have called for a reconsideration of the impact that such a move could have on users and the broader Twitter community. While the company has yet to confirm the specifics of its plans, the debate over the value of historic tweets is likely to continue as the social media landscape evolves.
Source: Elon Musk’s Tweet