Twitter purges all user photos and links from 2011 to 2014

Twitter (officially known as X) reportedly deleted all images posted to its website between 2011 and 2014. Links that used Twitter’s native shortening service are also broken. It’s not immediately clear whether this is an intentional act or an error, but whatever is going on is causing concern among users who have been on the site for over a decade.

Tom Coates, a Twitter user who tweeted the news of Twitter’s photo deletions, first broke the news on Saturday. As you can see, I have confirmed that all my photos from 2011 to 2014 have been deleted. The links no longer work. tweets below.

It appears that Twitter’s link shortening domain, the new URL that Twitter generates so that it can track user activity, is the likely culprit for why images no longer display and links no longer work.

Twitter launched in 2006 but didn’t support native image upload until the summer of 2011. TwitPic and other image hosting sites were created to help Twitter. But TwitPic shut down the service in 2014. Many images that date back to those early years are gone. But now it appears that even images posted directly to Twitter from 2011 to 2014 could be in jeopardy, since they are no longer uploaded to the site.

Some Reddit users, who track internet data retention, believe Twitter may have broken something to move the site to This is the domain owned by Twitter owner Elon Musk. But this is simply a logical assumption at this point and hasn’t been confirmed. Another popular theory is that Twitter is attempting to save on image hosting costs, another hypothesis that hasn’t been officially confirmed by anyone on Twitter.

Twitter did not respond to emailed questions on Saturday. I will update this article if I have news.

Since Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in October 2022, Twitter has undergone a number of dramatic changes. Musk’s first act was to fire thousands of people at the company, a move that likely contributed to the billionaire booing loudly at a Dave Chappelle show in San Francisco a short time later.

Musk also made sweeping changes to the site’s moderation, declaring something of an amnesty for many people who were previously banned. Kanye, musician and neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes were both welcome back. Then they were banned for making anti-Semitic statements. Some, however, including anti-Muslim anti-Semite Laura Loomer and political adviser Roger Stone, have been welcomed back to the website and remain a prominent presence.

Musk also welcomed former President Donald Trump on Twitter. Trump, however, has chosen to stay with Truth Social, the platform he created in 2022.

Musk has been a hotbed of controversy since he bought Twitter. He chose to amplify some of the more extreme elements of the website. Musk, to cite a few examples, backed Dilbert’s cartoon Scott Adams when he advocated for race-based segregation and promoted the film by Matt Walsh, the anti-LGBT voice on social media.

Twitter also made the bizarre decision to reinstate an account that reportedly posted child sexual abuse material. Musk himself has announced that the account has been reinstated, and Australian lawmakers recently questioned a Twitter executive about it. The executive said some accounts may be sharing child sexual abuse images out of “outrage” and would not necessarily be banned after multiple infractions. But it is widely understood by experts that sharing such material re-victimizes the child and only a zero tolerance approach should be tolerated.

Musk challenged Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to a fight, before apologizing regarding his health. Musk has said he may need surgery. Musk has repeatedly threatened to show up at Zuckerberg’s home in Palo Alto, even though Zuckerberg has said any fight should be staged by professionals from an organization like the UFC. Musk claims that Zuckerberg has been afraid for a long time, but the facts seem to contradict this statement.

Twitter has hired former NBCUniversal executive Linda Yaccarino to reassure advertisers concerned about the safety of their brands. However, her role is much more low-key than Musk’s. For example, Musk decided to severely limit the number of tweets a user can read over the Fourth of July weekend, a move in the Atlantic compared to instituting a 12-item limit at Costco. But Yaccarino didn’t even acknowledge their site’s obstacle until a few days later.

Musk recently announced that Twitter will drop the block feature. This is a vital tool in stopping abuse and stalking. This decision has been met with fierce backlash, and no one knows for sure if that will actually happen.

The removal of the images may have simply been an accident. Those old images could be restored sooner or later. But accidental or not, it’s safe to say that Twitter isn’t getting more stable as time goes on. With the amount of misinformation that swamped the site after the Maui fires, it’s clear the site is no longer a reliable source of news. And unfortunately there is currently no popular global alternative that can replace what was once a major website.

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