Today, Elon Musk announced that Twitter is going to begin purging inactive accounts. Along with accounts that were set up and never Tweeted, they will also begin removing accounts from the deceased. Meaning all of their old Tweets, videos, and photos will be permanently deleted, with no way to access them.
Removing inactive accounts with no previous activity is a worthy project. It frees up account names and gives a more accurate picture of users on the platform. But removing accounts of the deceased shuts the door on a pathway for their loved ones to remain connected with them on some level.
This is personal to me as my Dad passed away in September. He wasn’t a Twitter user, but he did use Facebook and Instagram. I still look at those accounts regularly. I don’t know how to explain it fully, but seeing his words and photos gives me a sense of comfort. Maybe it’s because it feels like he’s still around somewhere, or it helps me remember his sense of humor and how he talked. If Facebook took down his accounts, I’d be crushed.
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So I can relate to anyone who has lost a Twitter user. These accounts act as sort of a time capsule. You can go back and remember someone during a particular time. And that is something truly special for people wanting to remember their loved ones as they were.
Twitter is getting a ton of push back on this today, so I hope they reconsider.
I for one hope my accounts stay up so that my son may someday see how his Dad was in his relatively earlier years (though I’m sure some of my takes will be cringe-worthy at that point).