16 January 2020
UPDATE (November 28th, 2019):
Twitter has decided to postpone its plan to remove inactive profiles from the platform. The move has been delayed until it figures out a way to deal with accounts of the deceased. It wants to find out a way to memorialize accounts and will begin the cleanup process only after that.
We’ve heard you on the impact that this would have on the accounts of the deceased. This was a miss on our part. We will not be removing any inactive accounts until we create a new way for people to memorialize accounts.— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 27, 2019
Original (November 27th, 2019)
Twitter is all set to do a cleanup of inactive accounts on its platform starting next month, more precisely from December 11th. It has started notifying such account holders about the move. The notification email also mentions that it is advised that they sign-in to their accounts and follow instructions if they want to continue using their accounts.
It was first spotted by Dave Lee, a BBC reporter, who shared about the same in a tweet as well as an article. Twitter is targetting all those accounts who have been inactive for the past six months. It means if you logged-in or tweeted even once during this time frame, then your account is most likely to be safe. It should be noted even though the decision might seem like something completely new, it is an existing step mentioned in Twitter's inactive account policy.
Twitter has always maintained that each account must have some kind of activity every six months. One does not even have to tweet something as even signing-into the account qualifies. The only difference this time around is that it is the first time Twitter is removing inactive accounts at such a big scale and is also notifying them upfront.
In a statement given to The Verge, Twitter said,
“As part of our commitment to serve the public conversation, we’re working to clean up inactive accounts to present more accurate, credible information people can trust across Twitter. Part of this effort is encouraging people to actively log-in and use Twitter when they register an account, as stated in our inactive accounts policy. We have begun proactive outreach to many accounts who have not logged into Twitter in over six months to inform them that their accounts may be permanently removed due to prolonged inactivity.”
It is worth noting that this future move also affects bot accounts as simply tweeting would not make them eligible for not getting deleted. It is suggested that owners of such accounts should also sign-in at least once before the December deadline. Once inactive accounts are suspended, Twitter will also start freeing up those usernames so that they can be grabbed by others. Do keep in mind that both these processes will be completed over a period of months. It means if you have a particular username in mind that is owned by some inactive account, you will have to keep checking for it consistently to see if it has been made available.