Say I want to make a correction to a tweet, if there's a typo or something. If I delete the old tweet, what happens when people have already seen it and/or replied to it?

Will most Twitter clients figure out that the tweet was deleted, or will two tweets (the typoed and the corrected) show up in the clients? What about on the website? What about in someone's mentions list? What happens if it's in the middle of a conversation chain?

If you click "reply" on a deleted tweet, either on the website or the client, what happens?

Basically, is it bad netiquette to delete a tweet, because most consumers expect them to be permanent? A lot of the bigger accounts I follow do corrections manually via a followup "oops, I meant X not Y" tweet, maybe for a reason. Or is this perfectly OK?

2 Answers 2


If you delete a tweet it disappears for ever (although in some cases they may appear in Twitter search for a little while after)

Twitter and any clients using the streaming API will remove the tweet from a users stream almost immediately. Other clients using the REST API will remove the tweet once the timeline is refreshed.

I'm not 100% sure on what would happen mid-reply but I would have thought the reply will be sent successfully as the id of the now deleted tweet will have already been attached to the new tweet. I guess it would depend on how each client handled incoming and outgoing tweets. In any case the worst thing that would happen would be an error message being to displayed to the user.

Deleted tweets will disappear from a conversation chain.

I'm not sure if deleting tweets is frowned upon but if the information you have posted is incorrect or you no longer want to tweet it then it's entirely up to you as to whether you delete the tweet or not.

  • I think the tweets often or always persist in RSS views or other exports. For example, I've seen Tweets exported to Facebook (using RSS Graffiti perhaps?) that did not appear on Twitter, and I'm pretty sure that's because they were deleted.
    – Reid
    Commented Oct 12, 2011 at 18:19
  • 1
    @Reid: Yes, you are probably correct. I'm not entirely sure how things like are handled. Whether they actually point to the tweet itself or more than likely, the tweet is copied. Therefore if it was deleted the copied content would still exist. Well, that is my assumptions anyway :) Commented Oct 12, 2011 at 18:39

Basically, is it bad netiquette to delete a tweet, because most consumers expect them to be permanent?

I like to keep a very tidy twitter feed, and generally every few weeks I go back though my tweets and delete anything that isn't directly informative. This is with the view that someone browsing my feed should find information rather than personality (I get a lot of RTs from weeks or months ago that appears to support this).

My view is that I worked pretty hard to make an account worth following and deleting the chaff means that followers get more value.

For example, I recently have been spending half an hour clearing out the most rubbish of the recent tweets(about 200 of them). For example, this: sample tweet

Clearly helps nobody in the world, as such, has definitely been culled. Whereas this:


Is a bit more important in my area and is the sort of thing I'd like to keep up with. I used to do this sort of culling fairly regualarly to keep myself on track (it's particularly good for remembering who one's readers are and acting accordingly), but I've slipped a little bit recently - this is also why people who watch closely will have noticed I'm (normally) always between 3,300, and 3,800 tweets.

I am human though, so I'm keeping this:


...but most of the other stuff that is train/London related has gone and I'll try and do less of it. I'd rather remember my roots a little more.

Also - I should clearly pay more attention, I have no idea what this was about: sample bad tweet

So while I think some deletions are bad netiquette (halfway though a conversation for example) others are just tidying up and making sure that your feed is useful and welcoming to people.

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