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In the wake of a July hack that gave scammers access to several high-profile accounts, Twitter turned off the ability for people to download their tweet histories. That feature has now been restored, the company announced this week.
The “Download Your Twitter Data” feature is now “back on for everyone, so you can now download your Twitter archive from your account settings,” Twitter says.
In mid-July, the accounts of high-profile, verified users such as Elon Musk, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Joe Biden, were compromised to promote a Bitcoin scam. The accounts tweeted a Bitcoin donation request to followers, along with a link to a digital wallet that collected more than 12 bitcoin or $110,690.
The Your Twitter Data feature shows all the information that Twitter keeps on you, including your email addresses, phone numbers, birthday, profile location, account history, apps and devices, accounts you’ve blocked, and ad data. The download function, which includes your tweet and direct message histories, compiles “a machine-readable archive of information associated with your account in HTML and JSON files,” which Twitter sends to you via email.
Of the 130 accounts targeted by the hackers, up to eight had their account information downloaded through the Your Twitter Data tool, according to Twitter, though none of those accounts were verified. As a “precaution,” Twitter disabled the download feature for all accounts.
To download your data, head to Twitter.com on a web browser, and navigate to Settings and privacy > Account > Your Twitter data. Under download archive, enter your password and click Confirm. (On mobile, you’ll be redirected to the mobile web after you tap Your Twitter data.)
Twitter blames the hack on a “phone spear phishing” attack against a small number of employees who fell for the stunt. The company hasn’t elaborated, but the term spear phishing means the hackers researched their targets, and then came up with a ploy to dupe them into giving up login credentials for Twitter’s systems.
In late July, the Justice Department charged three individuals for hijacking the accounts. The main suspected instigator, Graham Ivan Clark, was arrested and charged for orchestrating the hacks, according to the Hillsborough State Attorney in Tampa, Florida.