Twitter Cull Paused

A 3 minute read

Over the past week, #twittercull has been trending on the micro-blogging platform.

On November 26th, Twitter announced that it would begin deleting accounts outside of the United States that have been inactive for more than 6 months, unless account owners log in before a 11 December deadline and agreed to Twitter’s latest privacy policy.

Twitter bases inactivity on whether or not an account holder has logged in at least once in the past six months.

According to the latest earnings report (09/2019), Twitter has 145 million “monetisable” active users, who come into contact with Twitter’s advertising on a daily basis.

Why the cull ?

Reasons for the cull as follows:

  • GDPR compliance – if you’re not logging on on a regular basis, the account owner can’t accept changing terms and conditions.
  • Credibility improved of follower counts as dormant accounts are removed
  • Active participation as account owners are encouraged to actively log-in and use Twitter when they register an account

A consequence of the cull is that previously unavailable Twitter names will become available as dormant accounts are deactivated.  Lucrative usernames can be held by accounts that have been inactive for years however Twitter denies that this is a reason for the cull.

Furthermore, account owners may see a dip in follower numbers over the coming months, however it may be argued that authentic, engaged followers are more useful than dormant ones.

An end to ‘lurkers’?

It has always been ok to ‘lurk’ on Twitter; in fact according to Adweek, more than half of all Twitter users never tweet, they simply look at the content of accounts they follow.   There has been nothing to stop you lurking forever …..up until now.

In future, Twitter said it would also look at accounts where people have logged in but don’t “do anything” on the platform. They would not elaborate, other to say that the firm uses many signals to determine genuine human users.

Plans paused

Only one day after the announcement Twitter said that it was pausing the cull. The plan received a public backlash from family and friends of deceased users.  In response, Twitter said it was suspending the cull until it could find a good way to memorialize deceased users’ accounts.

In a series of posts on 27 November, Twitter explained the change:

We’ve heard you on the impact that this would have on the accounts of the deceased. 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.

We apologise for the confusion and will keep you all posted.

It is likely that this pause is just that and that the #twittercull will go ahead in the near future – a reminder to stay active and engaged if you want to avoid deactivation.

An independent marketing professional with 20 years’ experience, Suzanne Shaw, MBA provides advice and guidance on aspects of marketing, communications and business development strategies to range of sectors and businesses, from start-ups to SMEs to not-for-profits. Having picked up lots of useful hints and tips along the way, Suzanne is always happy to share her insights.