Earlier this year on the 8th of May I deleted all my tweets, just under 5,000 of them. I know the exact day because I tweeted about it.
This morning, though, I discovered that Twitter has restored a handful of my old re-tweets; interactions I know I scrubbed from my profile. Those re-tweets were gone. I remember surveying my bare timeline with satisfaction before thinking, “great, time to draw attention to myself.” But now they’re back. You can see them by scrolling down my timeline past May 8th, with even more appearing if you select “tweets with replies.”
The re-tweets themselves are completely run-of-the-mill. There’s a video of kids cheering a construction worker. A Sopranos meme about Lindy (remember Lindy?). But the oldest dates back to 2020 — a video from the George Floyd protests that I would have shared while they were happening. Why on Earth is Twitter restoring three-year-old information? And what does it say about the ability of the platform’s users to control their own data? Nothing good, obviously.
I’m not the only one to notice deleted tweets resurfacing recently. I only checked my timeline after seeing a post on Mastodon (via Ryan Broderick’s newsletter) in which a user complained on May 17th that 34,000 of his deleted tweets had been restored.