tDelete Twitterformat Proposal


/del last
/del -tweetOffset
/del tweetID


The tDelete Twitterformat (e.g., /del last) informs your followers that you have deleted the referenced tweet (in preceding the example, your last tweet). Twitter clients that implement tDelete can alert users in realtime that a tweet has been deleted and display deleted tweets differently (e.g., in strikethrough).

Raison d'être

Consider what what happens today when you delete a tweet:

Even though Twitter removes the deleted tweet, some of your followers will already have the deleted tweet downloaded and cached on their Twitter clients. As far as those followers are concerned, your tweet remains undeleted. Unaware that you have deleted the tweet, they may continue to react and reply to it.

What should happen is that your followers should be notified, in realtime, that you have deleted your tweet. This will impact future conversations as your followers may respond differently based on this new piece of information (e.g., by not replying to your deleted tweet).

Manual usage

The tDelete Twitterformat is simple enough to be used manually by users. e.g.,

/del -2

(In this case, you signal that you have deleted your next-to-last tweet.)

Implementation guide for Twitter client authors

User deletes a tweet:

  1. Delete the tweet via the Twitter API.
  2. Automatically compose and send a tweet to the user's followers using the tDelete Twitterformat (e.g., /del 10242048)
  3. Don't display the automatic tweet in the user's own timeline as it doesn't add any further value as a separate tweet.

Client receives a tweet containing a tDelete Twitterformat:

  1. Extract the tweet reference ("last", -tweetOffset, or tweetID) from the tweet.
  2. If the tweet reference is "last" or in relative offset format (-tweetOffset), find the corresponding tweetID.
  3. Check if the tweet with the given ID is currently being displayed in the user's timeline.
  4. If so, display the deleted tweet in a manner that signals to the user that it has been deleted (e.g., in strikethrough). You can also draw the user's attention to this event via a Growl notification or some other form of alert.


This Twitterformat Proposal is released under a Creative Commons Attribution License.