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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 How Twitter Was Born [Geek History Lessons] How Twitter Was Born [Geek History Lessons] Originally created in 2006 as a short messaging system for small groups, Twitter has since evolved into a powerful communication tool that has dramatically changed how information is shared and spread online. Twitter functions as... Read More in 2006, you may have outgrown your past tweets. Before you become a tweeting influencer Most Influential Twitter List: Which World Leaders Made the Cut? Most Influential Twitter List: Which World Leaders Made the Cut? A recently released report examined the most followed world leaders, most influential, most active and social media trends surrounding the A-listers. Some of their findings might surprise you. Read More , your personality may need a little…rebranding. Perhaps there are a few shameful snippets on there that you should probably get rid of.

Embarrassing Tweet

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.

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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.

Deleting a Tweet

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.

Twitter 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.

Tweet Eraser

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.

TweetDelete

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 do decide to go all out, and delete every tweet you’ve ever sent, there are two tools I’d recommend: TwitWipe (read our overview TwitWipe: Conveniently Delete All Your Tweets At Once TwitWipe: Conveniently Delete All Your Tweets At Once Read More ) and Twitter Archive Eraser.

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.

TwitterArchiveEraser

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 The Complete Twitter Guide The Complete Twitter Guide This guide tackles every Twitter feature, tip and trick you can think of. Learn to work the interface, how to tweet from your desktop, as well as cool Twitter bots and funniest people to follow. Read More . 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 Delete Embarrassing Tweets and Create Self-Destructing Ones With Xpire Delete Embarrassing Tweets and Create Self-Destructing Ones With Xpire We've all been told that we should be careful about what we post on social media. But that doesn't mean that you should be afraid to use social media. Read More . 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

  1. Hugo
    March 6, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Hello, I just published a script that allows you to delete old tweets, all of them, not just the 3200 most recents. It requires a bit a configuration but works fine for me! Available here: https://github.com/hugocaillard/tweets-cleaner

  2. Ditto
    February 25, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Just FYI – there are 2 good alternatives now: http://tweetdeleter.com and http://deletetweets.co

    I’m a Twitter user from the day the Twitter was launched. Recently I wanted to delete a bunch of my old tweets so I tried all possible services. In general there are many spam services but I think the best one is definitely https://www.tweetdeleter.com/en. It has broad range of features. I liked that I could also upload my full archive of tweets and delete even oldest ones. The keyword search feature is also cool.

    The second best probably is http://www.deletetweets.co/en although the design and usabilty is not as good as for TweetDeleter. Other services basically allow you to delete only all tweets what I didn’t want to do!

    Hope my review helps. :)

  3. Lana Sáez
    November 6, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    Maybe I am just being paranoid, but I don´t think anything is ever really deleted. Even from the ¨general public¨ if they have the knowledge, they can retrieve anything at any time.

    • Rob Nightingale
      November 25, 2015 at 12:58 pm

      Exactly. The last paragraph in the article covers this :)

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