Twitter is backtracking on a plan to cleanup inactive accounts until it has a way to memorialize those belonging to the deceased.
The company put inactive accounts on notice Tuesday, warning users who haven’t logged in for at least six months that their accounts could soon be deleted.
The plan was halted less than a day later, after concerns were raised by users that the clean-up effort would inadvertently rid the platform of accounts of people who have died.
“We’ve heard you on the impact that this would have on the accounts of the deceased. This was a miss on our part,” the company tweeted Wednesday afternoon.
“We will not be removing any inactive accounts until we create a new way for people to memorialize accounts.”
Facebook, unlike Twitter, has a way to memorialize users after they die. Twitter gave no timeline on when a function like this would be implemented.
Under Twitter’s current inactive accounts policy, users must log in at least every six months; otherwise, the account could be rendered inactive and “permanently removed.” Twitter notes that “not all signs of account activity are publicly visible” but said the account must meet the six-month requirement to be effectively scrubbed from the platform.
The account removal process was set to begin in December and would ultimately free up usernames.
While it’s not entirely clear how many will get axed, Twitter confirmed the “first batch” to go will be those registered in the European Union.
“This impacts accounts in the EU only, for now,” Twitter Support tweeted. “We’re starting with the EU in part due to local privacy regulations.”
The policy could expand, however, the company said.
“We may broaden the enforcement of our inactivity policy to comply with other regulations around the world and to ensure the integrity of the service,” they tweeted.