As I mentioned yesterday, I logged into Twitter to discover that thousands of tweets that I’d deleted over the summer had been mysteriously restored.
My big delete was inspired by several high-profile firings that began when someone dig up old tweets. James Gunn was one prominent example. Even though my old tweets were free of incendiary content, I decided it was unwise to leave eight years of data online. Why leave my old thoughts out there for anyone to scrape?
Unfortunately, Twitter makes it difficult to delete old tweets. I did so over the course of a week, giving myself thumb-cramps in the process. (Due to API restrictions, only the most recent 2-3 thousand tweets can be deleted en masse, the rest must be done manually.)
I was irritated but not surprised to see my tweets restored. Data companies rarely delete data, they only stop displaying it. That’s especially true outside the GDPR zone. My hunch is that some techie at Twitter restored a backup, or some nonsense, and my deleted tweets were undeleted. As far as I can tell, others haven’t been affected.
I messaged Twitter Support and got a standard “thanks for your inquiry” reply. Rather than wait for an answer that probably won’t come, I spent most of last night deleting my old tweets, again. My thumbs are sore, again! 😖 And there’s no guarantee those tweets will stay deleted.
I guess it’s been another reminder that putting your stuff on someone else’s platform comes with risks.
Tweets are forever. The delete button is an illusion. Keep that in mind when using these services, okay?