X (formerly known as Twitter) has been through it in recent months: Elon Musk took over, fired a ton of people, destroyed the validity and integrity of Twitter verification, considered selling your location data and phone number, publicized everyone’s private Circles, allowed hate speech and misinformation to grow and fester, and blocked DMs by default from all non-verified accounts you don’t follow.
If all these changes have put you through it or you’re simply looking to lessen your time on social media, you can deactivate or delete your account. First, download your tweets before you do. Unlike other social media sites, deleting your Twitter account is relatively straightforward. However, there is one caveat to deleting the TweetBook once and for all.
Download your Twitter data
Whether you dislike X because of Musk or because of all the time it sucked out of your life over the years, you have to admit those years were kind of fun. You probably got some bangers off, did numbers a few times, or shared work or ideas that were meaningful to you. Before nuking your account, be sure to download your data, which will produce a .zip file of not only your posts, but your likes, DMs, and more.
Log in on a browser and press “More” on the sidebar, then “Setting and Support,” and finally “Setting and Privacy.” You’ll see a list of further options and at the top will be “Your Account.” Clicking that, you’ll find “Download an Archive of your Data.” You do have to enter your password and a verification code to do it, but eventually, you’ll get an in-app notification letting you know the file is ready for download. Be advised it can take up to 24 hours, so don’t delete or deactivate anything until it’s done.
Credit: Lindsey Ellefson/X
How Twitter treats “deactivation”
Twitter doesn’t let you delete your account outright. Rather than risk users throwing their whole profile away when they finally snap, the site wants to employ a cool-down period through account “deactivation.” When you choose to deactivate your account, it will feel like the account is gone for good, since your name, username, and profile won’t be accessible on Twitter. However, the account still exists, and you can retrieve it if you want to reverse course.
Keep in mind that isn’t the case forever. Twitter will erase your account 30 days after you hit the “Deactivate” button. Don’t treat this option like you’re putting your account on the back burner: While it’s nice X doesn’t delete your profile immediately, 30 days will come and go fast, and there will be no way to go back after that month is up.
How to deactivate your X account on desktop and mobile
To deactivate in the Twitter web app, do what you did to get the archive: Click “More” in the left-side menu, then choose “Settings and privacy.” To start on iOS or Android, tap your profile icon and tap “Settings and privacy.” On all platforms, choose “Account” or “Your account,” then scroll all the way down and choose “Deactivate your account.” Here, Twitter gives you the full breakdown we already covered, including alternative routes to take rather than deactivation, like changing your @username.
Credit: Lindsey Ellefson/X
Unlike some other platforms, the process here is the same on the mobile app. You just start by tapping your profile picture in the top left of your screen, then going through the same series from Setting and Support > Settings and Privacy > Your Account > Deactivate. Entering your password after hitting the button will make it permanent (for 30 days, anyway, and then eventually forever).
Keep in mind that search engines may still store some of your X data and posts, even after the deletion, and your archive request needs to be carried out before you deactivate, even though the company’s systems will retain data after you get rid of the account.
Lead Image Credit: Michael Gonzalez / Stringer – Getty Images
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