Grieving relatives blast Elon Musk for removing Twitter accounts belonging to dead loved ones: 'It crushed me'

Grieving relatives blast Elon Musk for removing Twitter accounts belonging to dead loved ones: 'It crushed me'
Elon Musk is displayed on a computer screen next to the Twitter logo.Muhammed Selim Korkutata / Anadolu Agency
  • Elon Musk said Twitter plans to remove accounts that have been left dormant for "several years."
  • The relatives of dead account holders said many accounts have already been deactivated.

Earlier this week, Elon Musk announced plans to remove Twitter accounts that have been left dormant for "several years" in an effort to "free up abandoned handles."

But the move has prompted an outcry from the grieving friends and family members of dead account holders, who have been taking comfort in going back through timelines and reading old messages.

On Wednesday, several Twitter users expressed their shock to find that many of the dormant accounts had already been deactivated.

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"I mean they could have at least sent a warning, but not just boom, remove them," Esther Haddad, whose 26-year-old daughter died six years ago, told Insider.

"When you lose someone, the tiniest memory is comforting, the tiniest," Haddad said. "So when they deleted her account on Twitter, it crushed me."


Another Twitter user, Emily Reed, told Insider that the policy change "says a lot about Musk's lack of empathy and tendency towards doing things without noticing or caring about the consequences."

Reed, whose sister died 10 years ago, said she would often read through her timeline "just to feel close to her personality and zest for life."

"Fuck you @elonmusk, your nonsense has taken away a monument to my sister's mark on this earth," Reed tweeted.

A spokesperson for Twitter did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

The platform's inactive-account policy states that users must log in at least every 30 days to remain active. However, last month, the policy said users only needed to log in every six months, according to the Internet Archive.


Twitter has been trying to figure out how to memorialize its dead for years.

In 2020, it had to reverse its decision to remove the accounts completely after it sparked a furious backlash from the relatives of deceased users. At the time, it promised to work on a way to memorialize accounts.

In a follow-up tweet on Monday, Musk promised that the accounts will be "archived."

However, both Reed and Haddad said they have no kind of access to the information. They said they wished that Twitter would have a similar policy to Facebook, which has memorialized accounts so that their content remains on the site for others who knew them to look back on and add posts.

"I would hope Twitter could put together a legacy or memorial program, much like Facebook has done," Reed told Insider.


Haddad told Insider: "At the very least, they should give the option to download the data before they delete."