Twitter is deleting unused accounts, freeing up loads of usernames

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When it comes to Twitter accounts, users tend to have two aims: to grab the perfect username, and to gain a verified tick. If you had to comprise when setting up your account, opting for a less-than-ideal handle, there's some good news.

Starting in December, Twitter is closing down inactive accounts ultimately freeing up a huge number of usernames that were previously tied up, but lying unused. Username squatting is a common problem on Twitter, but the new initiative should help to alleviate things a little.

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Next month, Twitter will start the process of deactivating accounts that have not been used for over six months. People with accounts that have been lying dormant for this long have until December 11 to log in and avoid losing their username.

The BBC reports that Twitter is making the move because anyone who fails to sign into their account is unable to agree to the latest policies. While the company denies that the cull is a bid to free up usernames, this will be a side-effect nonetheless -- great news for anyone who was unable to get their ideal handle to start with.

Twitter emailed out a statement explaining:

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. 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. 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.

Another effect of the cull is that many people will lose a number of followers. While this will not go down well with those it affects, a Twitter spokesperson told the BBC that this will help to improve credibility and eliminate the "undue sense of importance" inflated follower counts can bring.

Owners of accounts that are due for deletion should receive emails from Twitter warning them to log in... or else.

But while few people see a problem with the username clean up, it will also affect accounts belonging to people who have died. As Twitter has no way of memorializing account -- unlike Facebook -- there is concern from relatives of deceased users that precious memories will be lost forever.

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