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How To Get a Twitter Handle From an Inactive Account: 5 Tips


July 25, 2023 | 11 min read

According to Elon Musk, over 1 billion inactive accounts are on the platform. You’re a new or existing user and want a specific handle. However, when you check if it’s available, you see the message that the username is unavailable. But, when you search for the Twitter handle, you come across an account that looks inactive. There are no recent tweets from the profile, and there’s no profile or header picture. Also, you see that most of the account’s details are incomplete. This brings you to the million-dollar question: how to get a Twitter handle from an inactive account? Is there any way you can get Twitter to release the username?

What should you do if the platform won’t listen to your request? This guide highlights various techniques to get the Twitter handle from an inactive account.

Donald J. Trump’s Twitter profile after the platform suspended his account.

How To Get a Twitter Handle From an Inactive Account: Facts

So, how to get a Twitter handle from an inactive account? First, you need to know what Twitter considers an inactive account. After all, the platform doesn’t want anyone and everyone to try to claim specific handles. The social media network wants you to use your account frequently. According to the platform, you should log in to your profile at least once every 30 days. This is from Twitter’s inactive account policy. Failing to log in to your account means the platform assumes your profile is inactive.

However, this wasn’t the case, as this requirement was pretty recent. Even midway through April 2023, the platform’s policy required users to log in once in six months. What happens if you don’t follow through with this policy? In this case, the platform may permanently remove your account. Even Elon Musk stated the same on Twitter. But, instead of deleting these profiles, he said the platform would archive them. In other words, the social media network will store them.

What does the platform look at to determine the account’s status? It’s clear it relies on whether the user logs into their account regularly. Are there other signs? Let’s say the last tweet from the account was over a decade ago. Well, it’s hard to tell from a first glance. But you can use Twitter analytics tools like Twitonomy to learn more about the profile. It gives you various statistics to analyze and see if the account is active.

How To Get a Twitter Handle That Is Inactive?

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You’ve analyzed the profile, followed it closely, and concluded the account is inactive. So you ask yourself, “How to get a Twitter handle that is inactive?”

Twitter is quite clear about its stance on taking handles from inactive users. It will not release the usernames. Instead, it suggests trying a variation of the handle and see if that’s available.What about if the account receives a suspension or the person deactivates their account? It’s unclear whether the platform will remove suspended accounts. However, users who deactivate their accounts have up to 30 days. During this period, they need to log in to their profile. Otherwise, the platform will delete the account permanently. As a result, the username will be up for grabs.

Twitter allows suspended accounts to appeal to the platform’s enforcement and restore access. This is why you can’t get the handle from suspended profiles.

Is your goal to get to the bottom of how to get a Twitter handle from an inactive account? The short answer is to wait. Proceed to the next section if you want to try something else.

3 Tips on How To Get a Twitter Handle From an Inactive Account

You already know the social media network won’t give you the username, even from inactive accounts. Fortunately, there are three techniques you can try to make this happen. However, do keep in mind that they may not always work. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to get a Twitter handle from an inactive account:

How To Get a Twitter Handle From an Inactive Account: Ask

The first step in how to get a Twitter handle from an inactive account is to ask the user directly. It’s always better to reach out instead of going through Twitter. Why? Well, Twitter won’t just give you the handle. You can send the account a direct message and wait for a reply. But, as the profile is inactive, there’s a high possibility you won’t get a response.

Wait for at least a few days before proceeding to the next step. Why? Sometimes, people use Twitter without tweeting or engaging with other posts. In the social media domain, these accounts go by the term “lurkers.” And if the profile behaves like one, there’s no way of knowing if it is active. That’s why leaving a direct message is a good idea.

If you get lucky, maybe the person won’t mind switching to a new handle. You can also provide a monetary reward for making the change. However, do keep in mind that this violates the platform’s policy. So, try to keep your activity on the down low.

Also, the platform doesn’t want users to acquire handles and sit on them. It’s a common practice to acquire popular handles and see if anyone will offer compensation in exchange for the username.

Again, Twitter won’t go after account squatters and release the handle. The platform will only take action if it clearly violates the trademark policy.

A person holding their smartphone with the Twitter app open.

How To Get a Twitter Handle From an Inactive Account: Trademark

This step of how to get a Twitter handle from an inactive account is for organizations and companies. What if you represent a brand and want to use Twitter as part of your social media strategy? In this case, filing a trademark dispute claim against the inactive account is possible. Twitter does consider this a serious allegation, so make sure you know what you’re doing. Avoid filing for a claim just because you want the handle.

Also, simply having a similar username doesn’t mean it violates the trademark policy. The platform does allow usernames if there is no attempt to mislead people. Twitter wants people to have freedom of expression, starting with handles.

It’s not a violation if the person uses the username that is out of the trademark’s scope. For example, the user lives in a different region where the handle has a different meaning. Or the person works in another industry.

You can file for trademark violation if the account tries to impersonate your brand. You need to fill out a form stating the issue and your affiliation with the trademark owner. For example, are you a representative of the organization? Or are you just trying to report this issue?

You need to provide information to prove you are the trademark owner or represent one. Twitter requires the following data from you:

  • Trademark holder’s name, address, country and website.
  • Registration number, the word or symbol with the trademark, and the class of goods and services.
  • Who did you approach to register the trademark?
  • A link where the record of the trademark exists.

If you have a valid trademark violation claim, Twitter will release the handle.

Starbucks trademark symbol.

How To Get a Twitter Handle From an Inactive Account: Impersonation

If you don’t represent a brand, i.e., you are an individual, then you can’t use trademark policy violation. But you can file for impersonation. Remember, you need solid proof to be eligible for this claim. Here’s a simple breakdown of how to get a Twitter handle from an inactive account. For starters, the user should try to impersonate you or mislead others on the platform. Let’s say the person has your picture. Or, they use an image generated by a computer with the intent to mislead other users. In this instance, you have a valid impersonation claim.

However, the platform also allows people to have handles that have no association with the account holder. It isn’t impersonation if the person shares the same name as you. Also, this is true for commentary, fan and parody accounts on the platform. 

Before you file the impersonation form, you need to strengthen your claim. Having a domain with the same name as the handle is helpful. Also, an email address with the username you want can work.

You have to provide information about the impersonation. Twitter will also ask you to share a copy of a valid ID to ensure you are the real person. Also, you must submit the necessary documentation if you have a pseudonym, trade name or any other identifier.  

If Twitter finds that the user is impersonating you, they will ask the person to make changes to their profile. In this case, it’s possible to get the handle.

Should the user continue to impersonate you, it will result in account suspension. This means you won’t have access to the handle. Practice caution when filing for impersonation, as a suspension means the handle is no longer within your reach.

A person impersonating Elvis Presley and hugging a woman.

2 Tips If You Can’t Get the Handle From an Inactive Account

You followed all the steps on how to get a Twitter handle from an inactive account. However, despite your best efforts, you’re not close to acquiring the username. Don’t worry, as you can still do something to change this. Given below are two other methods you should try:

Try To Get a Similar Handle

Did you try everything suggested under how to get a Twitter handle from an inactive account? The only solution available in this situation is to use a different username. Now, you should keep it as similar as possible to the unavailable one. But it should also help people identify that both accounts are distinct.

There are several ways to keep the similarity between both handles. For instance, you can place a dot somewhere in the username. This counts as a different handle. Let’s assume the handle you want is @username123. See if you can get @user.name123 or something along these lines.

An underscore within the handle is also an excellent and creative solution. Or, you can add words like business or your brand name at the end of the username. Also, there’s the option to use “official” at the end of the handle. Several prominent public figures and businesses use this strategy for their social media usernames.

There are also some rules to remember about the handle. You can’t use Admin or Twitter, as this will mislead users on the platform. Only if you are an employee will the social media network allow these words.

Ensure the handle’s character count doesn’t exceed 15 characters. Also, it should be more than four characters. Additional alphabets and numbers can also help differentiate your account. For example, instead of @username123, you can try @user.nam3123. However, the social media network doesn’t allow the following characters in your handle:

  • Dash
  • Space
  • Symbol
A tweet from a Twitter user containing a link to their website.

Wait and See if There’s Any Change

The last step in how to get a Twitter handle from an inactive account is to play the waiting game. Sometimes, you can get lucky, and the username becomes available in a few days. Otherwise, you may have to wait months or years for this change.

Elon Musk said that the platform is considering removing inactive accounts. It’s possible that the social media network may only archive profiles of public figures and famous personalities. Or, the platform may reverse course and remove these profiles from its database. Also, it isn’t clear how long the account has to be inactive to be eligible for removal. There is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to Twitter.

What if you want to become an influencer in the future? It’s possible to trademark the name and then file a copyright claim against the inactive account. But, this process is expensive and time-consuming. Only go ahead with this if you have no other option. Remember, it’s quite challenging to trademark common words.

If you want to keep your existing handle, it’s vital you don’t break Twitter’s rules. You may only receive warnings from the platform for the first few violations. If you continue to violate the social media network’s policy, it will result in a permanent suspension. As a result, you may never get to use your handle ever again. The best way to avoid this issue is to delete tweets that don’t comply with the platform’s content guidelines. You can automate this with TweetEraser, which gives you the tools to remove posts. Whenever your tweet contains a specific word or phrase, you can program TweetEraser to delete it immediately. Ensure you only post tweets that stay within Twitter’s rules and policies today!

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