Weekly News: Twitter on “The return of the arrobas that weren’t”

Weekly News: Twitter on “The return of the arrobas that weren’t”

The social network announced that it was going to delete inactive accounts and provoked unexpectedly emotional reactions from tweeters

We have come to the end of the last week of the penultimate month of the last ten years. This, as we have discussed at length here, means absolutely nothing. Even if we do not believe in the past and the future, as there is only the present, the symbolism persists and we end up being touched by sentimental issues.

Perhaps due to the proximity of Christmas and the renewal of hopes of the abstraction called New Year, this week’s news tour addresses themes that concern an internet that has already been. Perhaps, even, to an internet that could have been or that naively chose not to be. So, Twitter and Tim Berners-Lee are here.

Well, the fact is that our next news post will only be in December. And shortly thereafter, 2019 will come to an end. Another certainty we have is that our newsletter will continue to be delivered regularly on Fridays, bringing positivity to your inbox. If you haven’t signed up yet, you have another chance below. Afterwards, continue reading the post!

Twitter in “The return of the arrobas that were not”

To say that Twitter has gone into an uproar in the past week may seem redundant. After all, twitterers are always upset for some reason every day, getting involved in arguments that sometimes, unfortunately, escalate into verbal violence. However, in recent days, a subject recalled the root era of the social network: the arrobas.

In the early days of microblog, choosing a good username was essential to show who you were, whether it was your name or a nickname. Many people even came to be known by @. Right at the beginning, but really, it was easier to get what you wanted. Now, it’s almost impossible, forcing the use of numbers and other subterfuges.

Much of this is due to users who made their accounts and then left their profiles indefinitely. I, for example, have an @ well ok, which has my first and last name. However, I always wanted something shorter, like @volps – it’s easier to quote, taking up less space, even with character enlargements. It was always a stillborn profile, though.

Cut to 2019

Because this week, out of the blue, Twitter sent a warning  that it would start deleting accounts from December 11th. The criteria was very simple: if the user has not logged in in the last 6 months, he would have the account disabled. The internet – or the twitterers – had the party: thousands, maybe millions of arrobas would be released, and many people have already started to map theirs.

But soon the problems started. Automated accounts, which aren’t always evil bots, would disappear. Those that post links directly, for example, as well as others that are dedicated to tracking deleted tweets from politicians and authorities. The biggest criticism, however, came from an unexpected emotional relationship of many users: dead people.

You may have already seen a memorial account on Facebook, which is offered to relatives of deceased users who want to keep their profile. It is an important way of dealing with grief for many people. Twitter doesn’t have that. Many profiles of people who are gone, therefore, would disappear on December 11th, saddening friends and relatives.

Twitter decides to rethink

Faced with this strongly emotional repercussion, Twitter announced, the next day, that it would rethink the sudden disappearance of the inactive arrobas . The justification was really linked to the tweeters who have already left us: no one would be removed until the social network figured out how to deal with these profiles that are so important to many people.

In addition, the company explained that it already had a policy to delete inactive profiles, but did not exercise it. And with GDPR, the European data protection law, you need to take this more seriously. In the end, this case reminds us of the real and extremely personal connections we have to social media. They can help you deal with tremendous pain.

There is no forecast of deletion of profiles in Brazil, for now, but maybe it’s worth logging into your inactive Twitter account. Maybe you’ll remember when that was a lot more fun. Just be careful with the virulence there.

Web Inventor Launches Plan to Save It

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web, wants to save it from himself. He launched this week Contract for the Web , a global action plan to make the online world safer and empower the people within it. The document was prepared for about 1 year by more than 80 organizations, and has the support of 150, including Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

He told the  British Guardian newspaper as follows :

If we leave the web as it is today, there are many things that will go wrong. We could end up in digital dystopia if we don’t change things. It’s not that we need a 10-year plan for the web, we need to change it now.

The contract has 9 principles, divided equally into 3 large groups. See below, in free translation:


  1. Ensure that everyone can connect to the internet
  2. Keep the internet available at all times
  3. Respect and protect people’s fundamental rights to online and data privacy


  1. Making the internet accessible and at a price people can afford
  2. Respect and protect people’s data privacy to build trust online
  3. Develop technologies that support the best of humanity and face the worst of it


  1. Being creators and collaborators on the web
  2. Build strong communities that respect civilized conversations and human dignity
  3. Fight for the web

ET returns to visit Elliot 37 years later

Since the theme of this post is the longing for a past that doesn’t come back, let’s talk a little about someone who came back: ET, the extraterrestrial. The sympathetic alien eternalized in Steven Spielberg’s 1982 film, has appeared again on Earth. And he came to visit his old friend, Elliot. This is the plot of an advertisement for Xfinity, a company that provides internet services, video streaming and other technological possibilities.

The theme is precisely the possibilities of connecting the modern world, which Elliot and his family happily present to the space friend. There are multiple references to the film, awakening nostalgia in the group that is in their 30s, 40s and 50s. No I’m not crying, you’re the one crying.