Tag Archives: retweets

Why Twitter Hides Your Tweets

A pathognomonic  sign has emerged among Twitter accounts that exchange retweets frequently: pre-archived (or hidden) tweets. The hypothesis we are going to test in this case study is the following:

Tweets disappear because Twitter (mistakenly) counts removed items (deleted tweets, unretweeted tweets etc) as items currently present in one’s timeline on an ongoing basis.

The premise is that as stated on Twitter’s respective support page Twitter displays only the most recent 3200 tweets/retweets.

It appears though that your current most recent tweet (CMRT) is seen by Twitter as buried under all the tweets you posted or retweeted after the CMRT but deleted too. We will refer to this group of posts as PORAD (Posted or Retweeted After but Deleted).

Example: If you post 1 tweet (CMRT) on a brand new account, retweet 3199 others (PORAD) on top of it and undo these 3199 retweets, only the CMRT will be left on your timeline. To Twitter though this will be your 3200th post (counting back from the most recent to the least recent), and an additional retweet/tweet (ART) on top of the CMRT published on your timeline will lead to the CMRT being counted as the 3201st post you created. As result your CMRT will be removed since it is not one of the 3200 most recent tweets/retweets you created. In other words, Twitter sees your most recent 3200 items as consisting of 3199 retweets (PORAD) and the ART even though you deleted the PORAD.

To test this theory we have created a brand new account, @TestHiddenTweet. Each tweet posted from this account will contain an ordinal number which reflects the absolute order in which it was posted, taking into account retweets as well. Thus,

  • if 10 tweets are retweeted on top of “tweet 1“, the next tweet posted will be called “tweet 12“.
  • if another 17 tweets are retweeted on top of “tweet 12“, the tweet posted right after those 17 retweets will be called “tweet 30
  • and so on until we reach “tweet 3200

After posting tweet 3200 we will activate spamcleaner to clean all retweets on the account’s timeline which in the end should contain only the counted tweets (the order assigned to them by Twitter on an ongoing basis). Therefore, if we posted only tweet 1, tweet 12 and tweet 3200 and the rest were retweets, after removing all retweets only 3 tweets should be visible on the account’s timeline:

  1. tweet 3200
  2. tweet 12
  3. tweet 1

If our hypothesis is correct, then the 3201st tweet or retweet we post on top of these 3 tweets should cause tweet 1 to disappear leaving only the following 3 tweets on the timeline:

  1. tweet 3201/RT 3201
  2. tweet 3200
  3. tweet 12

And finally, if we delete tweet 3201 or undo RT3201 only 2 tweets should be left on user’s timeline:

  1. tweet 3200
  2. tweet 12

If our hypothesis is proven true then we will be able to easily demonstrate why tweets reappear and disappear. For any questions or suggestions please use the comment section below.

Beware that the current hypothesis refers to how Twitter elaborates tweets on an ongoing basis. Current evidence suggests that on a weekly basis twitter synchronizes with accounts to ensure there actually are 3200 items on everyone’s timeline.  This weekly synchronization brings tweets hidden via the (possible) above mentioned mechanism back on users’ timelines.

Implications for Accounts Using Tweetdeck Teams

If a given account @myparody is

  • added to multiple tweetdeck teams;
  • updated once every 24h
  • and receives over or close to 3200 RTs in 24h (130RTs/h) from the teams it is added to;

Then the most recent tweet will be archived (possibly) via the above mentioned mechanism.

How to use protection

Protection refers to the Spamcleaner feature located at the bottom of the user panel. It was created to help users delete unauthorized tweets posted from their accounts in periods of inactivity.


The feature is intended to be activated when you’re not using Twitter (because sleeping, in class, on vacation etc) but have your account available on Tweetdeck/Hootsuite for peers to retweet from it.

Now and then the common Tdeck/Hootsuite password is leaked to unaffiliated third parties (hackers) who can use it to mass retweet their own accounts or, worse, to make offensive/false statements on your behalf that can alienate followers and damage your reputation.

Because retweets are cleaned by spamcleaner, unauthorized tweets would normally remain on the timeline until the user deletes them. And if the user is offline for one reason or another while this happens, such unauthorized tweets can stay up for hours, even days triggering hostile attacks from nonfollowers and followers alike. With protection, on the other hand, unauthorized tweets would stay up for at most 10 minutes and the damage can be negligible.

To activate protection you have to set a time interval for which you want it to be on. The image below shows how to set protection for the next 4h (from 5am to 9am). You first set the starting time, to do so click on the from field, a calendar will appear with hours displayed on the right. Pick a time and do the same with the to field (end time). Now click on activate protection and you should see a green notification saying that the date range has been saved.

activate protection

Now that protection has been activated all tweets posted in the saved time range will be deleted right after being posted. If you want to tweet before the saved end time (9am in the above example), all you have to do is click on the turn off protection button and new tweets won’t be deleted anymore.

Our Blog: SpamCleaner and Insights on How to Grow Your Twitter Account

The scope of this blog will be not only to keep users up to date with the latest Spamcleaner developments but also to provide actionable insights on how to empower you as a Twitter user.

It is no secret that right now our priority group are high-end profiles with a solid following (>100k) and a high volume of interactions. On Twitter, as elsewhere, giving is the secret to getting ahead. An intensive exchange of shares (retweets) can lead though to a dilution of one’s presence in their own timeline which is, in turn, perceived as spam by followers. This is where spamcleaner comes into play. You can clean retweets every 5-10 minutes to pave the way for hundreds of exchanges per day and a higher growth per retweet.

In addition to that, we added new features to delete tweets posted in a to-be-defined timeframe (Version 1.1). This allows users of platforms like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite to limit the amount of unauthorized tweets posted from their accounts in case the common Hootsuite/Tweetdeck account they are using is compromised when they are away.

A new version (1.2) will be released the first week of January. For suggestions use the comment section below.