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How do you undelete a tweet?

Answer

  1. You can try using Google’s web cache.
  2. Paste the deleted tweet URL in Google Search.
  3. Select “cachedversion in the options near each search result.

It’s probably one of the most common questions that pop up in Twitter support queries. There are two different scenarios:

Deactivate your account, and then reactivate it again after you’ve gotten over your tweet regret.

Delete the tweet via the web interface instead of using an app or mobile client. But don’t forget to delete it right away! That way the retweeting/liking activity on that tweet will be permanently deleted too.  This is a more advanced option as users may not realize there is a “Delete” button on the website if they’re never logged into their account before (by default all site visitors see a preview of every profile while logged out). And there is no warning that you will lose any likes or retweets if you delete it this way.

How do we handle “Tweet regret” cases?

We remove the tweet from our system, which means: The tweet will no longer be searchable via twitter.com or our API (if someone managed to find a screenshot of it). If there were replies to your tweet, they’ll now show up as being directed at your profile page instead. Your followers on Twitter won’t see an update in their feeds anymore. But all these things are instantly visible to anyone using one of our apps like TweetDeck or the mobile clients so nothing is lost there. We also make sure that when we crawl people’s timelines for violating terms of service rules in the future, that tweet is not indexed (i.e. hidden from view) for those users.

What if I removed my tweet but someone screen-captured it?

Then we would still be able to see it with our systems and treat it as a violation of terms of service just like any other public content on the site. We’d remove it based on that and make sure nothing else crawled or displayed the tweet in question to people using apps or our mobile clients. 

How do you reconcile Twitter’s principle of “preserving” deleted tweets and this new policy? What about the right to be forgotten? How long will deleted tweets stick around? Will there ever be an option to truly delete a Tweet forever? Does Twitter have different policies and processes for personal/business accounts?

The principle of “preserving” deleted tweets is important, especially in light of the right to be forgotten. Some users may want to delete a tweet that doesn’t violate terms of service but does violate their own personal privacy standards (like a private IM conversation), so being able to undo that kind of content quickly can be valuable. We also do this for law enforcement agencies in rare cases as part of our law enforcement guidelines. At the same time, we don’t want people violating our rules (spamming, hate speech, etc) by accidentally deleting something they didn’t mean to or assume was public without checking. The new policy tries to balance these two opposing goals as best as possible. If someone deletes a tweet and then realizes they made a mistake we will restore it if the tweet doesn’t violate our terms of service (and if it’s not permanently removed via web interface instead). We’ve had to do this for celebrities and politicians who have accidentally deleted Tweets before, so it’s not a new concept. Our approach is more automated than human in most cases, but some accounts may still end up being manually reviewed by support staff on an individual basis.

Additionally, all content posted publicly on Twitter is instantly “indexed” by our systems even after removal (this includes profile pictures), which means that third parties like Google can still see tweets through such services as Google CSE and Google Instant. That’s why, just like with Facebook, if you delete a tweet to remove something personal then others may still be able to see it through search results. This is different from the “deleted” status in Facebook (which is also not actually deleted forever) as they only index public content while Twitter indexes all public and private content equally. We do allow people to create lists containing tweets of a personal or confidential nature so only people on those lists can ever see them. That way users who are concerned about future searches can choose to keep certain tweets hidden even when they’ve been removed (and we’ll make sure they stay off of our web indexing system).

We do have separate policies for business and personal accounts. For example Personal accounts can be protected to always require a password to view anything they post. Business accounts can’t be protected that way because we don’t want people keeping their lists and other business-related things private once unprotected. Our policies also allow for accounts with fewer than 10,000 followers or only one follower (non-verified users) to use our ads platform without being required to have an extended profile. Longer profiles are needed in order to protect people’s privacy while allowing open access to the system, so these types of accounts must either pay for ads or verify status if they’ve reached the threshold of 10,000 followers/1 followers. Additionally, when it comes time for us to build out our next-generation API, we’ll make sure to include access to both private and public information, rather than just public. Our current API is entirely public.

We allow users to report “irrelevant content” for removal from search results as well (for example if someone made a joke about your company in the past but wouldn’t want it publicly visible today). This works similarly to our spam reporting system. There are some rules, outlined in more detail here, that we use to determine what’s allowed and not allowed. One thing that can help prevent things from being reported in the first place is using the new hide conversation feature which was recently added. This makes any future updates to conversations only visible by people who are part of the original conversation (anyone who replies or views account profiles) instead of anyone who has the URL. That way you can still use the full feed without worrying about things being added that might not be relevant now but were at one point (assuming they are set to “unhide” automatically via this feature).

In terms of accuracy, all searches have a confidence level associated with them when they’re created and we try our best to only show tweets that have a high confidence level. This is more important for some types of searches than others. For example, anyone can search @username on Twitter to see what someone else said, so there’s no need to do any kind of complex analysis for those kinds of queries. The hardest part is trying to determine whether or not tweets contain spam/URL shorteners/etc., which requires a lot of user feedback. We make mistakes with that stuff sometimes but we’re constantly trying to improve and can certainly do a better job. There are definitely things in the works there, but along those lines, I wouldn’t expect Google/Bing to be able to offer anything better for the foreseeable future.

How do you undelete a tweet?

1. You can try using Google’s web cache.
2. Paste the deleted tweet URL in Google Search.
3. Select “cachedversion in the options near each search result.

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