Do you want to start afresh on Twitter without losing your followers or username? Deleting all (or most) of your tweets may be the solution.
There are several reasons you may want to start with a blank slate on Twitter. If you’ve been tweeting since the platform launched in 2006, you may have outgrown your past tweets. Before you become a tweeting influencer, your personality may need a little…rebranding. Perhaps there are a few shameful snippets on there that you should probably get rid of.
Whatever your reason, we’re not here to judge. We’re simply here to help.
As a disclaimer: granting any of these apps access to your Twitter account is done at your own risk, though we have tested each of them
Before we begin: if you have less than 3200 tweets that you want to delete, things will be very simple for you. If you have over this number, things get a little trickier. You can thank Twitter for that.
What Does Twitter Store?
Although it’s commonly believed that you can only access the most recent 3200 of your tweets, this isn’t entirely true. Twitter limits the number of tweets that can appear on your timeline. But in 2014, Twitter opened up the floodgates, and allowed all tweets to be searchable.
Remember that tweet you sent five years ago telling the world you were high as a kite? People can still find that, even though Twitter doesn’t allow third-party apps to search past your most recent 3200 tweets.
What Happens to a Deleted Tweet?
When you bulk delete tweets, it can take a while to display on your feed. This is because there is a limit to the number of requests each of these apps can send to Twitter per hour. If you’re deleting several thousands tweets, then, this can take a while. It’s sure better than doing it manually, though.
When it comes to deleting tweets, according to Twitter:
- When you delete a Tweet, it is removed from your account, the timeline of any accounts you follow, and also Twitter search results
- Retweets of the deleted Tweet will also be deleted.
- If other users have quoted your Tweet (i.e. copied and pasted part or all of your text into their own Tweet) their Tweets will not be removed.
- If other users have Retweeted your Tweet with a comment of their own, their Tweets will not be removed.
- Tweets may be cached or cross-posted on third-party websites, applications, or search engines. We cannot remove Tweets that are not on Twitter.
Saving Your Old Tweets
Once you go through with deleting tweets, there ain’t no going back. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.
But if you have that niggling feeling that you might just miss something about them, Twitter does allow you to download your Twitter archive. These files contain every tweet or retweet you ever sent.
To download your archive, click on your profile picture, settings, then Your Twitter Data. Scroll to the bottom of the page. Click Twitter Archive. Read the different options carefully, and when you’re ready click Request Your Archive.
You’ll (eventually) receive an email containing a link from where you can download a .zip of your archive. Within that .zip folder you’ll be able to access your archive in JSON or CSV. Open the .html fie and you’ll be able to search your entire archive offline, in a Twitter-like UX (see above)
There’s a number of ways you can use this data.
Deleting Tweets Before a Certain Date
If wiping the slate completely clean is something you’re not too confident about, deleting all tweets before a certain date is a reasonable compromise. Tweet Eraser is a great tool for this.
Once you’ve signed into Tweet Eraser, you can filter your tweets based on date, keyword, and hashtags. You can then select individual tweets to delete, or select all those within your search parameters with one click. Be patient, it can take a while.
Due to API limits, this only works for the most recent 3200 tweets.
Delete Tweets Over a Year Old
TweetDelete is a free tool that automatically deletes tweets that are over a certain age.
The current options are to delete those over:
- One week old
- Two weeks old
- One month old
- Two months old
- Six months old
- One Year Old
Again, due to Twitter’s restrictions, this is only possible for the most recent 3200 tweets. The script runs periodically (usually every couple of days). It locates new tweets that have entered the date period you set, and deletes these automatically. There is no way of retrieving these deleted tweets.
Deleting ALL of Your Tweets
If you have less than 3200 tweets, TwitWipe is a free, simple tool to use. The video below shows you the step-by-step guide:
If you have more than 3200 tweets, the free and Open Source Twitter Archive Eraser (TAE) is the tool you’re looking for. Unfortunately, this only works for Windows. I’ve not yet found a similar solution for Mac or Linux. If you know of one, please share this in the comments.
TEA works by using the Twitter Archive you downloaded earlier. Within this archive is the tweet ID for every one of your tweets. This makes it possible for TEA to find all of those tweets without the restrictions that the other apps face.
In essence, you can delete as many as you like by following these instructions on how to download and use the program.
Keeping Your Account Clean
Once you’ve cleaned up your Twitter account, it’s a good idea to keep it that way. As mentioned, using TweetDelete is one way to automatically delete old tweets. Xpire is another tool that you may also want to use.
Xpire is a free iOS and Android app that we’ve reviewed before. It’s main features are: allowing you to easily delete certain tweets, and to set individual tweets (and Facebook posts) to “self destruct” after a certain amount of time.
From the comfort of your phone, you can keep your newly purged Twitter feed spick and span.
Will You Be Purging Your Account?
Twitter will still have a record of these deleted tweets in case they need to produce them for legislative purposes. But by deleting many, if not all, of your past tweets, you do stop them from being searchable to the general public and prying employers, and journalists.
So, knowing that all of your past tweets are searchable, would you be tempted to wipe the slate clean and start afresh? Could this save you from a “PR Disaster” in the future? Or is assuming that people care about your old tweets nothing more than vanity? Tell us your thoughts!
Image Credits:blackboard eraser by Humannet via Shutterstock