What happens when a tweet used in Storify is deleted?

Someone will undoubtedly already know, but I don't, and I'll find out soon. I've posted a tweet on Sunday 1 May 2011 at 7.50pm and will delete it tomorrow and monitor to see what happens.


  1. There should be a tweet below, which says "This is a test tweet that I'll delete tomorrow - just trying something out :)". Its URL is  http://twitter.com/JoBrodie/status/64760728212611072  (which will soon stop working once I've deleted the tweet).

    I'm wondering if Storify pages are dynamically generated, recreating the page by pulling in all of the individual items that make it up (essentially a series of disparate, individual RSS feeds, one for each item). Or they may well be combined and captured into one page with a single URL.
    I'm expecting that, if it's the former, then deleting this tweet from Twitter will remove it (after some unknown period of time) from Storify. If it remains here in perpetuity then the second theory seems plausible - mind you there could well be some other reason that I've not thought of.
  2. Edit 14 February 2016: the second tweet, sent almost 5 years after the first, has not been deleted and you can clearly see the difference between the two. The top one is deleted, but if someone makes their account private then the tweet would also look like this. Tweets that look like this have been deleted or the person who sent them has locked their account.

    Edit 3 Nov 2017: Although my deleted tweet above remains (it was sent, embedded here, then deleted 7 years ago) I wondered if Twitter's systems have changed so that a tweet sent more recently (today), embedded and then deleted is treated the same. We'll see below in the tweet that should say "I am going to delete this tweet :) After I've included it in a Storify (to see what happens to saved tweets once deleted from Twitter." which was sent at 12:34pm on 3 Nov and I wish I'd sent it on the 5th now ;)

  3. ------------ Original post continues below -------------

    For future saving of tweets I recommend Freezepage. You can freezepage a whole page of tweets from the person's timeline, for example - a nice example is a selection of tweets from Gillian McKeith when she made a bit of a twitter boo-boo last year.

    If you want to save an individual tweet look for its timestamp (eg 53 minutes ago or 5.15pm April 30th) and click on that; it will take you to a single page on which sits the tweet of interest.

    See also a blogpost I wrote on saving tweets etc Finding things that aren't there any more on the internet, and storing things that are.

    There's a similar Storify story I previously wrote on this sort of thing (I'm a librarian and therefore a bit obsessed with curating things).
  4. Edit: Tweet deleted from Twitter at 15.20 on Monday 2 May 2011...
  5. Edit: 17:20 2 May 2011 - the tweet's still here on Storify which doesn't surprise as much as the updating timestamp. At the time of writing it says that it was posted to Twitter 21 hours ago (true) and when I deleted it earlier today it said 19 hours ago (also true, at the time). I'm a bit surprised that an absent tweet is still being counted, unless it simply recalculates from the known time at which the tweet was posted.
  6. Edit: 08.33 27 March 2014 - three years on and the tweet's still there, with a correct timestamp (it's not the typical granular X o'clock on Thursday the umpteenth of May 2011 that you'd expect from a still-alive tweet, but I'm impressed that it knows when it was sent, even though it's no longer there).
  7. Edit: 22:52 14 February 2016 - five years on and the tweet's not going anywhere. I've added a more recent, live tweet to show how differently the deleted one looks. You'd get the same if someone made their account private too.