How to Download Your Twitter Data and Delete Your Account

    Despite it being about 25 years ago, I still have a vivid memory of a beautiful spring day when I was in high school.

    I was having lunch with my friends, staring out the window, and suddenly silence fell over the cafeteria. This was strange as the cafeteria was never quiet. And I think everyone instinctively knew that something was about to happen.

    I looked up just in time to see a lone carton of milk gracefully sailing the length of what was a very long, very full, very quiet room.


    It was thrown at no one in particular. Just thrown. It didn’t hit anyone. Just the floor.

    In the split second between the pack falling to the floor and the milk in the pack creating a beautiful fountain-like plume of cow’s milk, everyone – and I mean everybody-in the cafeteria jumped up at once and began to throw food at each other in a hysterical, frenzied, but physically harmless display of madness.

    Anyway, that’s what it felt like to open Twitter the day Elon Musk took over.

    And whether you’re determined to leave Twitter and never come back, or you’re waiting to see the near future erupt, here’s how to grab an archive of your tweets, photos, direct messages, and other activities — and then delete your account once you are done. That way you can remember how things were, whatever lies ahead.

    Download an archive of your data

    When you’re on a computer, click here or fire up Twitter and click “More” in the left column at the very bottom and navigate to Settings & Support > Settings & Privacy > Your Account > Download an archive of your data.

    If you’re using the app on your phone, click your profile picture in the top left corner, then Settings & Support > Settings & Privacy > Your Account > Download an archive of your data.

    You will then be asked to enter your password again, after which you can ask to package the archive.

    This isn’t an instant process: Twitter says it can take up to 24 hours to prepare your data. But you will receive an email as soon as it is ready to download.

    Understand the archived data

    This part is best done from a computer as you will need to do some decompression and folder navigation.

    Once you have downloaded the archive, which is a zip file, uncompress it and you will get a folder full of files.

    The file called archive.html contains all your tweets, direct messages, recent likes, lists, and a few other things. It’s a good place to start if you want to stroll through Memory Lane.

    There is also a folder called tweet_media that contains all the images and videos you have uploaded.

    Those are the two areas of interest, but there’s another file called README.txt that explains what each of the other files and folders is for.

    Delete your Twitter account

    This part is easy if you have done the archive step above.

    Same navigation: either click here or go to Settings & Support > Settings & Privacy > Your Account, except this time, at the very bottom you will see the Deactivate Your Account link.

    You’ll get a small warning message that your account no longer exists, and two other important information. First, you can reactivate within 30 days if you change your mind.

    Second that you should wait to download your archived data from the above step before deactivating your account. In other words, don’t start the archiving process, delete your account and then expect an email with all your stuff. Wait for the email, download the archive, then Delete your account.

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