Twitter already lets you download your archive of messages from the day you started using the service which isn’t new, but the ability for anyone to search all public tweets is new and you should take notice.
Titter made the announcement back in November of 2014 on its engineering blog. It’s kind of dry reading if you don’t care about the specifics of the searchable index, but the following basically sums it up:
Our search engine excelled at surfacing breaking news and events in real time, and our search index infrastructure reflected this strong emphasis on recency. But our long-standing goal has been to let people search through every Tweet ever published.
In this post, we describe how we built a search service that efficiently indexes roughly half a trillion documents and serves queries with an average latency of under 100ms.
Why This Matters
Maybe you have embarrassing tweets out there that you forgot about while “drunk tweeting” or were unnecessarily rude or offending while in the heat of an argument. Or maybe when you were first getting started with Twitter, you typed awkward things.
If you’re trying to get a new job or move up the corporate ladder in any way, employers can easily search your public tweets and the information they get could make or break you.
Whatever the case is, you should check your Tweets and get rid of anything you don’t think should belong.
Find and Delete Old Twitter Tweets
Log in to Twitter and go to Settings > Request Your Archive and follow the onscreen step-by-step instructions. For more on obtaining your Twitter archive, I highly recommend you read our article: How to Download Your Entire Twitter History.
Your history archive will be email to you as a zipped file with a tweets.cvs file that you can open in any spreadsheet program. Or, the easier way is to open the index.html file in your favorite browser.
From there the easiest way to find unwanted tweets, it hit Ctrl + F and type in the offending word, hash tag, or other keyword ad scan through your entire history. Or just use the Search All Tweets field in the upper right.
Once you find the tweet you want to delete, hit View on Twitter link below the message.
That brings you to the live tweet in your Twitter feed where you can simply delete it.
This is actually a cool way to search for historical news events and other global topics of conversation, but it can also haunt you for saying something stupid.
While some might be outraged by this new Tweet Index, but you shouldn’t be. Anything you publish on Twitter is public, and if you need to be private, send someone a Direct Message (DM) as those are not searchable by the public (yet, anyway).
It’s also worth mentioning that you can get apps for iPhone like Tweetinator or Tweet Cleaning to help you clean up your tweets easier as you can select more than one at a time.