Twitter erases photos from 2011-2014, users panic

The links that used Twitter’s URL shortener are also broken.
Rizwan Choudhury
Twitter X logo and app

Twitter, which is now known as X after being acquired by Elon Musk last year, has sparked a wave of panic among its long-time users as it seems to have erased all the photos posted on the platform between 2011 and 2014. The links that used Twitter’s own URL shortener are also not working. The reason behind this massive deletion is not clear yet, but many users are worried about losing their memories and data.

Twitter’s link-shortening domain

As per a Forbes report, The issue came to light on Saturday when Tom Coates, a user who joined Twitter in 2007, tweeted about it.

The problem seems to be related to Twitter’s link-shortening domain, which is the new URL that Twitter generates to track user activity. This domain is apparently not functioning properly and causing the images and links to disappear.

Twitter started supporting native image uploads in 2011, before that users had to rely on third-party services like TwitPic to share photos. However, TwitPic shut down in 2014 and many of the images from that era are already lost. Now, it seems that even the images that were uploaded directly to Twitter from 2011 to 2014 are at risk, as they are not showing up on the site.

Some users on Reddit’s Datahoarder forum, which is dedicated to data preservation, have speculated that Twitter might be trying to migrate the site to, which is a domain owned by Musk for a long time. However, this is just a guess and there is no official confirmation from Twitter. Another theory is that Twitter might be trying to save money on image hosting fees, but again this is not verified by anyone from Twitter.

No more blocking on X?

In another development, Elon Musk on Friday announced on Twitter that he will remove the block feature on the platform, which lets users prevent specific accounts from interacting with them or seeing their posts. He bought the company last year and has made some controversial changes since then.

Users can still use the mute feature, which hides specified accounts from their view but does not notify them of the action. Musk said this feature will only be available for direct messages, not for public posts.

Musk claims to be a supporter of free speech, but his critics say he is not taking responsibility for the content on his platform. Some studies have shown a rise in hate speech and antisemitism on Twitter since he took over. Some governments have also accused the company of failing to moderate its content properly.

Radical changes since Musk's takeover

Twitter has undergone several radical changes since Musk bought it for $44 billion in October 2022. Musk’s first move was to fire thousands of people at the company as a measure to cut costs against the massive loan for the buyout. Musk also changed the moderation policies of the site, allowing many people who were previously banned to return. Some of them, like Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, were banned again for making anti-semitic remarks. But others have stayed on the site and continued to spread hate and misinformation.

Former president Donald Trump was also invited back to Twitter by Musk, but he chose to stick with his own platform Truth Social, which he launched in 2022. Musk has become a controversial figure ever since he took over Twitter, as he has promoted some of the most extreme and fringe voices on the site

Twitter also made a strange decision to reinstate an account that allegedly shared child sexual abuse material. Musk personally announced the reinstatement of the account and faced criticism from lawmakers in Australia who questioned a Twitter executive about it recently. The executive said that some accounts might be sharing such material out of “outrage”, and would not necessarily be banned after multiple violations. But experts have argued that sharing such material only harms the victims and there should be no tolerance for it.

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