Twitter to delete inactive accounts—so you can finally get your hands on that username

There’s a specific kind of frustration you get when you think of a really good Twitter handle only to find that an account already has it and they haven’t posted anything on the platform since 2009. 

You could be in luck as Twitter has said it is going to start removing inactive accounts this coming December. If you haven’t logged into your Twitter profile for six months, you need to do so by December 11 or Twitter will release the username. 

The social network says this is part of its 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,” a spokesperson told The Verge. “Part of this effort is encouraging people to actively log-in and use Twitter when they register an account.” 

Twitter hasn’t specified when this will take place as the account removal process will take a few months. That being said, if you do have your eye on a particular username and want to go for it, it’s worth checking back regularly to see if you can claim it.

Removing accounts, even inactive ones, is a controversial process. Twitter doesn’t currently have a process for what to do for accounts belonging to people who are deceased. After journalist and writer Deborah Orr died in October, Twitter removed her account to much distress from her friends and followers.

The company says it has a team thinking about how to memorialise someone’s Twitter account. 

It’s no less controversial over on Instagram. Earlier this year when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex launched their Instagram page they had the handle @sussexroyal. However, a driving instructor, Kevin Keiley, from West Sussex was rather incensed by it as he says he owned the handle – chosen because he supports Reading FC, which is nicknamed the Royals, and lives in Sussex. 

Instead, Keiley now sports the handle @_sussexroyal_. 

Instagram told the BBC at the time that it had changed the account after it had been inactive for a certain amount of time.  

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