Elon Musk’s takeover has prompted some celebrities to say they’ll leave Twitter. Here’s how to deactivate your account and protect your data.

  • Elon Musk’s long-awaited purchase of Twitter was finally completed last week.
  • The deal is expected to bring changes to the platform, including charges for some services and looser moderation.
  • Read on to see how to deactivate your Twitter account, and protect your data on the site.

The protracted saga of Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter finally came to a close last week when the billionaire entrepreneur completed a $44 billion deal to buy the social media site.

As the world’s richest person took charge, news swirled about Musk’s ideas to shake things up, with reports that the site’s verification process will be dramatically changed, and staff complaining of being asked to take on longer hours to make the changes as fast as possible.

Musk has also promised changes to the type of content allowed on Twitter, leading many to believe that it could become a space for extreme viewpoints to thrive.

In the aftermath of the takeover, a number of celebrities, including “Bridgerton” creator Shonda Rhimes and musician Sara Bareilles have announced they are leaving the platform, while NBA legend LeBron James urged Musk to address the “scary AF” surge in N-word use.

Author Stephen King also said he’d leave the site if Musk introduced a rumored $20 monthly charge to remain verified.

Following Musk’s takeover, Insider has compiled a list of ways Twitter users can protect their data on the site, and deactivate their account if they want to leave.

Data sharing

Twitter is free – for now, at least – but made over $5 billion in revenue last year. 89% of this came from advertising and the rest was from data licensing. You can’t stop Twitter entirely from tracking you, but you can limit the information the platform cleans from you.

By heading to the “Settings and privacy” tab under “Settings” on the left hand side of your Twitter feed, then going to “Privacy and safety” and scrolling down to “Data sharing and personalization,” you’ll find a few things you can opt out of.

Under “Ad preferences” you can turn off “Personalized ads,” and under “Inferred identity,” you can stop Twitter from using your information from other websites and devices off the platform.

Un-checking “Data sharing with business partners” also prevents the app from giving your information to other companies.

Privacy

Musk has previously described himself as a “free speech absolutist,” and announced plans for a Twitter moderation council with “widely diverse viewpoints” to make decisions about what can be said on the platform.

If you want to be less visible on Twitter, one easy way is to make your account private. From “Privacy and safety,” go to “Audience and tagging” and check “Protect your tweets” to do so.

The “Privacy and safety” tab also allows you to mute certain words and accounts to prevent them from appearing on your feed, under “Mute and block.”

You might also want to make sure that you haven’t been sharing your location while tweeting.

Under the “Your tweets” tab, check that the “Add location information to your tweets” is unchecked, and click the button underneath to remove any information previously shared.

Back ups

If you’re weighing up whether or not you should leave Twitter, you should consider backing up your tweets and other data in case you change your mind.

Go to “Settings,” then “Your account,” click “Download an archive of your data” and enter your password to request a ZIP file of your account information. You’ll get a notification when it is ready to download.

Deleting tweets

Twitter only lets you delete one tweet at a time, which could take some time if you’ve been on the site for a while. Instead, websites like Tweetdelete.net allow you to start fresh and delete all your tweets, or just those older than a week.

It can also delete all your likes, which are publicly visible.

Deactivation

Time to say goodbye once and for all? Go to the “Deactivate your account” tab in settings.

Bear in mind that Twitter will keep your data for 30 days after you click the “Deactivate” button, allowing you to restore your account if you change your mind within that time frame.

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