Social Media: How to Take Control 

By Áine McCormack, M.A.

Social media platforms may try to force our lives around like a playground bully, but there are times when you may want to take back control and perhaps delete social media accounts. Whether you may miss the days of anonymity, or you might want to reclaim your privacy from companies, or the account is dated, or maybe you simply aren’t interested anymore, there are many reasons why people would choose to delete their accounts.

But what if you no longer have access to the credentials you used to create the account? Or what if you are responsible for removing the profile for a family member who has passed on? These very common what-ifs could present obstacles.

A majority of social media networks have steps in place to remove profiles. Áine McCormack is Hg’s in-house specialist on access-gaining requests. In this five-part blog series, she helps readers gain access to five social media platforms: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. This week we tackle Twitter.


Removing your profile from Twitter, unfortunately, is not always a stress-free process. If you have lost access to the email address you used to sign up with Twitter, the company encourages you to try to contact that email provider to regain access and then to log in and delete your Twitter profile. Another option: If your mobile phone number was verified on your Twitter account, you can use the number to reset your password and then delete your Twitter account.

There are instances where you cannot gain access to your email, or where your mobile number is not verified. In those cases, Twitter states that it is unable to help you continue with troubleshooting. Frustrating as that may be, Twitter needs these verification requirements to make sure it is not releasing personal information to the wrong party.

On the bright side, the Twitter account may be removed from Twitter when the account becomes inactive per Twitter policy. The policy states that if an account is not used or logged into every six months, it may become permanently removed.

To remove the Twitter profile of someone who is deceased, you can choose to email, or send a letter to Twitter Inc., c/o Trust & Safety, 795 Folsom Street, Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94107, or fax a letter to (415) 222-9958. Your message should list your full name with your contact information and your relationship to the deceased. Your message should also include the username of the deceased’s account and a link to the deceased’s obituary. Twitter will remove the account and/or assist with saving a backup of the deceased’s public tweets. Twitter will not provide access to the deceased’s account or disclose non-public information about the account.

Check back next week when we review the process of removing yourself from Tumblr.

Are you an analyst or investigator looking for advanced training on the latest protocols to spotlight the brightest and best in social media monitoring for protective intelligence? If so, check out Hg’s webinar series, where you can attend live sessions and receive CEUs or watch previously recorded sessions to beef up your OSINT & SOCMINT skills.


Are you looking for an investigative team to help you unearth information on a potential business partner? Acquisition? Hetherington Group leads in online and social media investigations, having trained over 180,000 corporate security professionals, attorneys, accountants, auditors, military intelligence professionals, and federal, state, and local agencies in Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and Social Media Intelligence (SOCMINT). Our skilled analysts excel at exposing financial risks, reputational issues, criminal activity, and legal actions detrimental to your personal and business stability. Learn how our team can arm you with the data you need.

Áine McCormack, MA joined Hetherington Group in 2017 as an Investigative Analyst and Case Manager. With her keen ability to understand and summarize large amounts of information in a concise manner, she communicates to our clients exactly what they need to know, when they need to know it. Her primary tasks involve specialist desktop research and analyses of public record and open source information in support of business due diligence and other investigative projects.