Twitter can keep copies of your deleted DMs for years

Using Twitter on smartphone

Using Twitter on smartphone

Saini says he found his old deleted Twitter messages from recipient archive folders belonging to Twitter accounts that were deleted. This could potentially have privacy ramifications leading to regulatory action.

Deleting your direct messages on Twitter doesn't actually delete them at all. TechCrunch reporters said they were able to "recover direct messages from years ago - including old messages that had since been lost to suspended or deleted accounts". Some of the messages were from accounts that had long since been deactivated. The social media company has been found keeping data on direct messages that were deleted by users, despite stating that it does the opposite on its Help pages.

Twitter has responded to the report, stating that it's "looking into this further", but it's not clear if storing deleted messages is a bug or if the service was simply misleading users about removing data.

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Saini's primary concern wasn't necessarily that the messages were being retained, but rather the length of time those messages were held. Twitter accepts requests from law enforcement to preserve records, but the platform said it will only keep a temporary snapshot of relevant account records for only 90 days. "For up to 30 days after deactivation it is still possible to restore your Twitter account if it was accidentally or wrongfully deactivated". The revelation, flagged by security researcher Karan Saini, indicates that attempting to scrub yourself from its servers may be futile, even if the site's Privacy Policy claims that user-deactivated accounts will be "deleted". As TechCrunch notes, this is egregious not for security reasons but for privacy. It seems reasonable to assume this would also be the case for DMs that both sides of a conversation have chosen to delete.

Mashable has reached out to Twitter for clarification on why the company's still keeping archives to DMs that were deleted years ago and we'll update this story if we receive a response.

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