So a number of years ago, I created a Twitter account which I forgot the password and email to. More than 3 years ago, almost 4. I did not post anything, almost nothing. Just liked a couple of posts. Used it for an hour and never got to it again. All I posted was in my bio, and my location at the time.

Since then, my info has changed. But the problem is, when you Google my name, that account is the first to show up. This has caused me some social issues and a mishap at work. It is awkward that I have to explain I moved (because of the nature of my work which requires moving.)

What legal options do I have; do I have the right to let Twitter simply hide the location and occupation which I wrote in the bio?

I tried requesting a deactivation, but they said that both a government issued-ID was necessary, and the email. I am willing to risk my privacy by giving them a copy of my drivers' license, but I really cannot remember the email because it's been almost 4 years ago.

The account is from really long ago and I only used it for less than 1 hour in my life. No posts, no tweets, only 3 likes on 3 tweets; and never logged in again. Please let me know what legal options I have, and if I should ask the question in another Stack Exchange.

  • 2
    Do you actually mean “Can I legally force Twitter to remove an account I no longer use, cannot access and cannot prove I owned”?
    – Moo
    Dec 15 '20 at 4:25
  • Not force, I mean do I have the right to let them do so? I do not want to force anyone or get into any court of law. I want a simple solution. I can provide government issued-ID. Thank you sir Dec 15 '20 at 4:28
  • 2
    Im not sure “let” is the word you want - that means you wont prevent them from deleting your account, but your story seems to indicate you want them to delete your account but they wont. The first is the opposite of the second.
    – Moo
    Dec 15 '20 at 4:46
  • Thank you. What are my options? Dec 15 '20 at 4:55

Can you prove them this is your account? Then maybe. It depends on your knowledge on legal letters.

Did you try to reset the password by link through E-Mail? At one of your e-Mail addresses you used back then, the link to reset should appear.

  • The OP mentioned that he cannot recall his email, so the password reset is not an easy option.
    – o.m.
    Dec 16 '20 at 6:03
  • As I understood it, he doesn't know which E-Mail he used. Then just check them all. If he can't access them, ok then that's another problem.
    – Bru
    Dec 16 '20 at 7:54

I think the problem here is one of identity verification. Legally, Article 17 GDPR gives you the right to request a deletion of most data held by Twitter, as soon as they are convinced that you are the owner of the account.

  • Several years ago, you created a Twitter account, using a certain email. You no longer have the login credentials and you cannot even remember the email, let alone access it for a password recovery link.
  • Now you want Twitter to delete that account.
  • Before taking action, Twitter wants to confirm that you are the owner of the Twitter account. The way they propose is that you send them the email and a copy of an ID document.

Think about it. The current President of the United States is Donald J. Trump. There is also a physician named Donald L. Trump. Should one Donald Trump be able to have Twitter delete the other Donald Trump's account? Asking for just an ID document and the email address that was used to register sounds like a pretty weak requirement. Asking for anything less would jeopardize the entire system.

To me it sounds as if your best option is to try and reconstruct which email or emails you might have used back then.


You appear to be confused: absent anything such as a lawsuit requiring you to preserve that information, you do have the right to let Twitter to delete your account (and in some jurisdictions, you may even have the right to force them to do so, given proof of ownership). However, since Twitter does not appear to want to delete your account without proof that you are unable to provide, you do not appear to have the option to let Twitter delete your account.

More broadly, there is not really a concept of the right to let a third party delete something, as you generally can't control what third parties do or do not do. The only time I can think of that you would be required to do is if you had an obligation to preserve data or records (such as information related to a lawsuit) and that data is held by a third-party. In that case, you would be obligated to preserve them by some means.

  • Thank you sir. I appreciate your answer. Could you please give me the realpolitik; what are my realistic options here? Dec 15 '20 at 4:55
  • I don't know what you mean by "realpolitik," but I can't give you legal advice here. In terms of practical advice, it's really not clear what you want: you've specifically said you don't want to force them to delete it. It's also unclear what jurisdiction you're in, since you tagged the question as both european-union and us-constitution.
    – Ryan M
    Dec 15 '20 at 5:26
  • thanks. I want to force them, then. I am in Europe. Dec 15 '20 at 5:31
  • @rakanepicness, I suspect there are some translation issues regarding "let." I suspect you mean "demand," if so make sure of your translations and then edit the question.
    – o.m.
    Dec 15 '20 at 11:46

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