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Delete your old tweets to protect yourself

Social media can be your biggest downfall if you’re not careful. No matter how squeaky clean we try to keep our social media accounts, sometimes things can slip through the cracks.

Posting an off-color joke or even a bad take can be detrimental to your career and well-being. Case in point: Kevin Hart’s problematic old tweets came back to haunt him after he was set to host the Oscars this year. Fans quickly dug up old, harmful tweets from the comedian and now here we are, without a host for the biggest night in film.

Bonus: How to use Twitter like a boss

That’s where editing, curating and otherwise deleting your tweets come in. Has your finger been on the pulse of social media for years? Don’t panic. There are quick and easy ways to manage any potentially problematic posts you may have made when you were younger, and many of them are free or cost exponentially less than a missed opportunity or a ruined career. Promise!

Here are some ideas you can start with to protect yourself and your online persona.

Start by archiving your tweets

Before you start moving anything around or deleting it, make sure you make an archive of your past tweets first. There may come a time when you need some of the information within them, so it’s best to save them just in case.

First, log into your Twitter account and go to your Settings page. Find “Your Twitter Data,” and scroll to the bottom of the menu to find “Download your Twitter data.”

Click the button, and you’ll initiate a request for Twitter to email you with a downloadable zip file containing your entire Twitter history. It may take a while, depending on how many tweets you’ve made over your time as a member. Once you receive the email, download your archive and you can keep it for easy searching later.

Bonus: 5 quick tips to get a handle on Twitter

With everything safe and sound, now it’s time to get on to the deletion.

Choose a free service

If deleting tweets simply isn’t something you want to pay money for, you’ve got a few reliable options to choose from. Tweet Delete can delete up to your most recent 3,200 tweets, which may take a while for you to wipe your entire profile with if you have more than that, but it’s a start. It can also help you regularly delete your tweets in the future if that’s something you want to experiment with.

Simply head over to the Tweet Delete website, and sign in with your Twitter username and password. It will connect to your Twitter account (when you give it permission) and allow you to nuke all the tweets you’d like (up to that limit) at once. This may take a while once it gets going, but it’s an incredibly easy process.

TwitWipe is another very simple program to use that works in much the same way, though you’ll have to contend with several more ads. It will delete all of your tweets in one fell swoop, however, so make sure that you’re ready to take this final step and have all your tweets archived before running TwitWipe.

You’ll have to log in to your Twitter account and allow for all the normal permissions first, and it can take a very long time to go through and delete everything, so make sure you can dedicate time overnight to making it all happen. When you wake up, you’ll find a squeaky clean Twitter account.

Either option is useful and serves the same purpose, though you won’t have the same freedom as you would with a paid service.

Try out a paid service

The best paid option you can use right now is TweetEraser. For a few bucks a month (including a free option) you’ll be empowered to delete all the tweets you want at once or select the ones you’re most concerned with. You can use it with multiple Twitter accounts, apply various search filters, and even delete “likes” on your feed. The service will never use your Twitter feed to post its own advertisements or do anything nefarious, and it’s simple to understand.

You can even see all of your tweets lined out in multiples of thousands, and access all of your images from the site so you can save all of your old photos while curating your feed. It isn’t the quickest service (none of them are that fast) but it does the job well and will get your tweets gone with little muss and fuss.

Peace of mind is worth less than a monthly subscription to a couple of streaming services, right?

Are my tweets gone forever?

If you didn’t make a copy of them, technically, yes. They may still be around on the internet if anyone thought to archive them, however, and you can’t get rid of those if that’s the case.

Keep in mind that in many cases, your tweets and thoughts could be available via online tools meant to save things just like this.

Bonus: How to delete your Twitter account

Kim herself interviewed the creator of the Internet Archive and the Wayback Machine, Brewster Kahle, which you can tune into here. These are extremely useful websites that help curate the internet, past and present. The Wayback Machine is an especially valuable tool that can save websites as they were during “frozen” moments in time. Check out that show below.

The best and easiest way to ensure you keep yourself safe on Twitter and avoid any kind of mishaps with your social media is to just watch what you post. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, just don’t say it. Keep it nice and clean, and you won’t need to have to worry about doing any of this ever again.

But if you end up having to, well, we’ve got your back.

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