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· 4 min read
Hugo Le Moine

I opened my twitter account @hugo_le_moine_ back in 2012 during my high school years, and have mostly used it to retweet/like content, using it like a bookmarking tool. Over time, I accumulated a couple hundreds tweets and I certainly don't remember >95% of them.

It's now time for a deep cleaning!

But... Twitter does not let you delete more than a tweet at time. Then how to automate this ?

Twitter API

Leveraging Twitter API is the first option I explored. Twitter has built quite a comprehensive set of endpoints enabling developer to:

  • Post and delete a tweet / retweet / like / quote / bookmark

  • Search tweets

  • Follow / unfollow

Applying for a developer account

Using Twitter API requires a developer account. The "Essential" level was enough for this tiny project. As I plan to try other functionalities later on, I got the "Elevated" level.

Creating an app and getting your keys and tokens

Before we can dive into the API and play with the endpoints, we need some more configuration: creating an app.

Note: keys generated cannot be displayed again, in case you forgot to write them somewhere, you can still regenerate them.

In the "Settings" tab, the "OAuth 1.0a" must be activated, with "Read and write" permissions. The callback URI / Redirect URL can be your own github page.

In the Keys and tokens tab, you can now get your consumer keys and generate authentication tokens for your personal account.


APIs can be used in most programming languages, and as Python is the one I am most comfortable with, I looked for a library that wraps the Twitter API for conveniency. I came across tweepy.


Your credentials can be stored in a yaml file to avoid hard-coding them in your python files (do not commit your keys!). For example in delete-my-tweets.yaml:

consumer_key: ***********
consumer_secret: **************
access_token: *************************
access_token_secret: **********************
bearer_token: ********************************************

Then, you can load them using pyyaml:

import yaml

with open("delete-my-tweets.yaml", "r") as stream:
parameters = yaml.safe_load(stream)['delete-my-tweets-dev']
except yaml.YAMLError as exc:
Initialize client
import tweepy

client = tweepy.Client(
wait_on_rate_limit=True, # to automatically wait when rate is exceeded
Retrieve user's tweets

To get the list of tweets from a user, it is required to provide the id associated with the account. To get this information, you can use the method get_user and provide your username.

user = client.get_user(username='hugo_le_moine_')

We can now retrieve the account's tweets. The method get_user_tweets allows to collect tweets 100 at a time using pagination: each call will return a maximum of max_results tweets, and provide a token next_token allowing to collect the next tweets by passing it as an argument to the next call.

This method only allows to retrieve the most recent 3200 tweets.

We can write a recursive function that will go dig until the no more next_token is provided, and return all the tweets as a list.

def collect_tweet_ids(next_token=None):
# timeline contains tweets and metadata about the user
timeline = client.get_users_tweets(,

# get list of tweets

# if a next page exists, append its results to the list of tweets
if 'next_token' in timeline.meta:
tweet_list += collect_tweet_ids(timeline.meta['next_token'])
return tweet_list

We can now collect the tweets history:

tweets = collect_tweet_ids()
Delete tweets

Finally, we can use the tweet ids to delete them using the delete_tweet method.

Warning: twitter cap rate limits tweet deletion to 50 per 15 min window. Deleting all tweets can take a while, more than 8 hours in my case.

I use tqdm to display a progress bar.

from tqdm import tqdm

for tweet in tqdm(tweets):

That's it!! I can now resume using twitter with a seemingly blank account, except that I get to keep all my settings and followings. I learnt to use the Twitter API and it's python wrapper tweepy, not in depth, but I will quite likely get back to it in the future!

Has it been useful to you? Any faster way that you found? Any feedback will be appreciated, hit me up on twitter @hugo_le_moine_!