• X, formerly Twitter, was rumoured to have deactivated old media links amidst changes to its back-end elements this weekend.
  • It was speculated that the platform removed most pictures and links tweeted before December 2014, as a cost-cutting move by its owner Elon Musk.
  • However, it could also be a technical glitch as some people can still see images and clips in some tweets, while others are just showing text-based t.co links.

X users didn’t seem to have the best weekend when they noticed that their old tweets, published prior to December 2014, were not visible on the platform anymore. Over the weekend, reports emerged that all images and videos attached to any tweet created before 2014 had been rendered inactive in the app. What initially seemed to be a cost-reduction measure, is now affecting users globally.

However, there is also a possibility of a technical glitch as the actual content posted hasn’t been deleted. But it sure is inconsistent. Various users found that the media elements are still available, they’re just not where they should be. And X’s system is having trouble finding the source and displaying it in posts / tweets.

twitter X app missing posts deleted

Also Read: Meta Announces New Features For Threads Including A Web Version

The Observations

X is having a problem displaying old posts that came with images attached or any hyperlinks converted through Twitter’s built-in URL shortener. It’s unclear when the problem started, but it was highlighted on Saturday afternoon in a post by Tom Coates, and a Brazilian vtuberDanilo Takagi. “Twitter has now removed all media posted before 2014. That’s — so far — almost a decade of pictures and videos from the early 2000s removed from the service,” Tom posted on X.

Twitter only added native image support in 2011 and built-in videos in 2016, but the links to YouTube are now just plain text with a t.co URL that doesn’t work.

The famous tweet by Ellen DeGeneres of a selfie taken during the 2014 Academy Awards ceremony in the crowd with various celebrities like Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence also went missing from her account. At the time, it quickly became the “most retweeted tweet ever,” with over 2 million shares on the platform.

ellen degeneres selfie tweet X twitter

The image in Ellen’s tweet was later restored, but a user replied saying that not everyone has been granted that privilege.

However, the post on Ex-President Barack Obama’s account is still visible where he is seen hugging the First Lady, Michelle Obama, after winning his 2012 campaign for re-election.

The Speculations

The Twitterati has been mulling over this issue, trying to figure if it was caused by a reduction in storage or a change to X’s network configuration designed to lessen its data load, and thus reduce the company’s operating costs. Some have suggested that the changeover from HTTP to HTTPS around 2014 could be to blame for the change, essentially derailing some of the recent clean-up work by the X team.

The timing for the cutoff in pictures and links that are broken seems related to changes Twitter made in 2016, adding “enhanced URL enrichment” to show previews for linked websites and native attachments that didn’t count against Twitter’s 140-character limit. According to developer documentation, the metadata for these additions “began emerging” in December 2014. Despite speculation that it could be an intentional cost-cutting move by Musk, the fact that the actual media posted hasn’t been deleted suggests an error or bug of some kind, one of many that have arisen since last year’s takeover.

elon musk X twitter app

Another theory is that this is all part of Twitter.com transitioning to X.com as its home domain, and the X team encountering issues with mass data migration. Indeed, the platform is still predominantly branded as ‘Twitter’ and ‘tweets’ in all of its documentation and code, and it will likely face many challenges like this in making the switch. But it does seem like it’s making some sort of major change to its back-end infrastructure, which could be linked to its domain switch. Or, as noted, it could be a cost-cutting measure, as X continues to work to get back into the black, amid significantly reduced ad intake.

The Impact

Users who are not being able to access any of their old content, will of course find this annoying for retrospective searches. Meanwhile for brands, it would mean that any embedded tweets with video or images would no longer be active on their website, and any of their classic campaigns would essentially be erased. They could seemingly still be somewhere on the web but gone from view, either temporarily or forever, if this is indeed an actual test of a future direction for the app.

We’ll probably find out soon enough, as X continues to make changes to its internal structure way too often.