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Musk says Twitter is purging old accounts, freeing up desired usernames

According to recent tweets by owner Elon Musk, Twitter is purging inactive accounts, which may free up some long-coveted usernames. Twitter has promised to put more usernames back into rotation for years, but despite having an inactive account policy that requires users to log in at least every 30 days to avoid account deletion, it hadn’t done so yet.

Musk claims Twitter’s purge is conservative. Instead, he says the company is purging accounts with “no activity at all for several years,” warning users that their follower counts may drop. Longtime Twitter accounts with large followings from Twitter’s early days may be more noticeable.

Musk responded to a question about username availability by saying “yes” in a follow-up tweet. He didn’t explain how users would get these usernames beyond trying to create a new account with a specific name.

Twitter considered auctioning popular usernames in recent months to generate revenue. That plan’s status and implementation are unclear. Musk tweeted in December 2022 that Twitter would “soon” start freeing the namespace of 1.5 billion accounts, deleting inactive accounts.

Musk tweeted in October that he wanted to free up Twitter usernames as the new owner.

Since Musk took over Twitter, Mastodon, Bluesky, T2, nostr, and Post have emerged as Twitter alternatives. Mastodon, with 1.2 million monthly active users, has attracted thousands of Twitter users. Substack, Flipboard, and Artifact also have discussion features that may compete with Twitter.

Musk could bring back lapsed Twitter users by opening up coveted usernames, which would boost network effects and revenue.

Musk tweets a lot, but not everything he predicts happens. Twitter Support and the official Twitter account have not posted any updates about the potential user name land grab. Many people ask Musk if they can memorialize deceased accounts instead of deleting them. Also unresolved.

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