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Twitter could delete dormant profiles. Here's how to save them

Worried about losing old tweets from someone who has died? Here's how to save copies of them in case they are deleted. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Worried about losing old tweets from someone who has died? Here's how to save copies of them in case they are deleted. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Published May 11, 2023


People have been sharing their thoughts, jokes and milestones on Twitter for as many as 17 years. If they die, land in prison or leave the platform, those feeds can provide a snapshot of their lives and personalities for friends, fans and even historians.

Dormant Twitter accounts could be in danger of disappearing, again. Elon Musk on Monday said Twitter will "purge" accounts that have been inactive for several years. The company announced a similar plan in 2019 but abandoned it after outrage from users whose friends or family members had died. Musk said the unused accounts would be archived but did not provide details about how that would work.

For anyone worried about losing access to the tweets of people they knew or followed who are no longer tweeting, there are few options to save those memories.

Save tweets as a PDF

For profiles with just a few tweets, you might be able to print a page from the browser and save it as a PDF, export it as an HTML file, capture it with a few screenshots or even copy and paste the text into a file. However, the way Twitter loads profile pages, especially ones with hundreds or thousands of tweets, can leave these files incomplete.

The easiest way to get a full document of all tweets from someone's account is to use a special tool for screenshots. GoFullPage is a free Chrome extension that creates a complete PDF or PNG file of posts from one profile. Install it on Chrome, navigate to the page you want to save, and select the plug-in. It will break long profiles into multiple files.

Create an archive

The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine can archive webpages on request. Go to the page for saving webpages, Paste the URL for the profile you want them to archive. If you can, log in first to get more options, like an email, when it's completed. There is also a Wayback Machine Chrome extension if you are planning to use it for multiple websites.

Back up your own tweets

If you want to save a copy of your tweets, because you fear Twitter's death or your own, you have more options.

From Twitter, go to Settings > Your Account > Download an Archive of Your Data. After jumping through a few security hoops, you'll be able to request your information as a zip file via the "request archive" button. The archived information should include your account information, account history, apps and devices, account activity, interests and ad data.

Once you've made the request, you'll need to wait, sometimes up to a day or more. You should receive an in-app notification when the archive is ready to be downloaded and will have a limited amount of time to access the files.

You can send the file to people or save it somewhere they can access it later, but an easier option is to upload it directly to the Wayback Machine so everyone can enjoy your greatest hits.