Any Twitter account that has not signed in for more 6 months is now getting an email from Twitter: sign in by December 11 or say adiós to your handle. BBC’s Dave Lee first tweeted (irony) this development.
Twitter confirmed this development to The Verge and TechCrunch but did not clarify when the recouped Twitter handles will be made available for existing users. As per The Verge, this inactive account removal process “will happen over many months — not just on a single day”. Thus, a massive username rush on December 12 seems unlikely. The Verge also reported that usernames with fewer than 5 characters can no longer be registered on Twitter.
As per Twitter’s Inactive Account Policy, activity is determined by logging in at least once every six months, and prolonged inactivity may lead to permanent removal. Since there are no public signs of an inactive account, Twitter does not generally accept requests for Twitter handles that seem inactive. As per Lee, inactive accounts are not included in calculation of daily active users.
It is unclear what will happen to accounts that belong to the deceased as Twitter does not “currently have a way to memorialize someone’s Twitter account once they have passed on”, as per The Verge. It also appears that bot accounts, as long as they are signed into once every 6 months, will remain active. We also don’t know what will happen to inactive verified accounts. MediaNama has reached out to Twitter for more information.