Not that Twitter has ever been calm waters. Before Musk, Twitter was the social media world’s most reliable double-edged sword. One minute, you were retweeting a funny meme account and enjoying some wholesome discussion about your current TV binge fixation, and the next, you were being buried by a harassment campaign or finding your day ruined by a thread that makes you want to throw your laptop through the window.
Either way, if you’re now on X or were ever on Twitter, it’s a good idea to take precautions with your posting history since, even if you’ve moved on to one or more other social networks, it’s possible that somebody will unearth one of your old tweets and create a firestorm without you even being aware it’s happening. (And while it’s not necessarily bad to be able to ignore something like that, it’s probably a good idea to know when it’s erupting.)
So, regardless of whether you’ve cut Twitter out of your life, the best protection you can provide yourself is the deletion of your Twitter history. Here’s where to start if you’re interested in nuking your timeline and keeping future tweets from falling into the internet’s vindictive void of posterity.
Step one: archive your tweets
Before you settle on a method to wipe your Twitter history, it’s recommended that you archive your tweets first. To begin with, that means you can just hold on to the folder in the event you ever want to casually scroll back to that three-month period when you first signed up for Twitter and all you could think to tweet about was breakfast and the weather and earnest hashtag use.
But the main reason that you want to archive your tweets is that, if you have more than 3,200 tweets, you won’t be able to remove them without an archive. How come? Because individuals can only delete individual posts, and if you use a third-party app, Twitter will only allow it to delete the most recent 3,200 tweets. To get around that limitation, most deletion apps use your archive (or tell you how to use your archive) to identify all the older tweets you’ve amassed so they can get rid of them.
To access your archive:
- Go to your Twitter account and, in the left-hand column, click on More > Settings and Support > Settings and Privacy.
- Under the Your Account column, click on Download an archive of your data. It can take a day or more until you get your data, so if you think you may be in a hurry to delete your Twitter data, plan ahead.
Step two: delete single tweets
If you only have a few older tweets that you want to get rid of — because you find them embarrassing, have changed your mind, or don’t want your new employer tripping over them — you can delete them one at a time.
- Go to your Profile page.
- Find the tweet that you want to delete, and click the three dots to the right of the post.
- Click on Delete.
- A pop-up will ask if you’re sure. If you are, click on Delete.
Step three: pick a service
There are many services out there designed to help you manage your Twitter history and wipe it clean. Some are free, and some charge a subscription fee. None can immediately delete more than your most recent 3,200 tweets. (This is a function of Twitter’s API.) However, most of the apps have found a way of getting around it by helping you download your archive (see step one above) and then using the archive to, in essence, delete a specified range of tweets that were created before those 3,200.
And even if you’ve used one of these to delete all your past tweets, it’s a good idea to go back and check. There have been reports, including from Verge staffers, that “deleted” posts have mysteriously reappeared.
Current apps include:
TweetEraser is owned by the same company — TD Social LLC — that owns TweetDelete. So, not surprisingly, it is similar and offers similar features. In fact, its list of premium features is almost identical to that of TweetDelete, and its prices are exactly the same except that, instead of a Starter plan, Pro plan, and Premium plan, TweetEraser offers a Beginner plan, Advanced plan, and Expert plan. The only differences are that TweetEraser does not offer a free version, and it claims “extra fast” deletion in the Advanced plan and “super fast” deletion in the Expert plan. We’ve contacted TweetEraser for information about how you can delete your data from the service if you wish.
TweetDeleter will also delete your older tweets using the same strategy as the previous two apps: by using your Twitter archive to find and delete those posts. If you only want to delete certain tweets, you can find them using keywords or whether they’re attached to media. TweetDeleter offers a Standard plan that lets you delete up to 100 tweets per month for $7.99 a month or $47.88 a year; the Advanced plan deletes up to 3,000 posts and 3,000 likes for $9.99 a month or $59.88 a year, and the Unlimited plan lets you delete an unlimited number of tweets and likes (including all at once) for $11.99 a month or $71.88 a year. According to the company, uploaded archive files are permanently deleted from their servers, uploaded tweets are retained until manually deleted, and the data of users who leave the service is deleted after two months.
Update August 29th, 2023, 8:23AM ET: This article was originally published on July 26th, 2018. It has been updated to reflect recent changes to Twitter / X and tweet-deleting services and to add information about the privacy policies of these services.