Depending on your reasons for considering the deletion of your Twitter account, there may be less drastic options available. If you’re simply ready for a new username, changing the handle on your existing account or the connected email address is quite simple. For those with privacy concerns, a Twitter account can very easily be locked, meaning that only followers approved by the account holder can view that user’s tweets. These options can save users who simply need a change a fair amount of headache related to the permanent removal of a social networking trail.
However, if you’re determined to remove your Twitter footprint permanently, there are ways to go about it. Unlike Facebook, Twitter doesn’t hide the link to delete a profile or resort to passive-aggressive tactics to entice you to stay. Twitter users in the process of deleting their account will simply be presented with a playful request for the reason behind their decision, “Are you sure you don’t want to reconsider? Was it something we said? Tell us.” Deleting your account starts with the “Deactivate My Account” option in the account settings menu. This permanent deactivation will result in the eventual removal of your data, though it may take up to four weeks after the deactivation period for all of the information to be completely purged.
Users are urged to change the email address, user name and phone number connected to their Twitter accounts before deactivation; though the microblogging site doesn’t specifically state that these pieces of information will be permanently blocked, it could make starting a new account with that information difficult, should you regret your decision after the deactivation period has ended. Also, it’s important to note that deactivating your Twitter account can not be accomplished through a smartphone app or a mobile browser; completing the process will require use of the web from a Mac or PC.
In a move vaguely similar to Facebook’s convoluted policy, there is a thirty day deactivation period in which users can opt to reinstate their account by logging in. However, Twitter clearly states that all user information will be permanently deleted after this period ends, unlike Facebook’s secretive responses to the same question. Any other sites with a Twitter login connect should be cleared, smartphone apps removed and browser caches cleared in order to avoid an accidental login that will start the month-long process again. If you’ve been using Twitter via SMS and you’ve stored the number in your contacts, it’s probably a good idea to also delete that information, as an accidentally-sent text will also result in the reactivation of your account.
Though Twitter’s model includes an immediate settings change that removes most search indexing, old links can sometimes appear in a Google search. After the deactivation period ends, it’s a good idea to Google your Twitter handle to see if any information remains. If there are old tweets or related data, you can send Google a take-down request by following this link.