Twitter backed down over plans to implement a mass purge of inactive accounts after users slammed the company for failing to first make provision to maintain the profiles of the deceased.

In a series of tweets, the company acknowledged the “impact that this would have on the accounts of the deceased”, adding the lack of a policy for such circumstances “was a miss on our part”.

The social media giant pledged it will not remove any inactive profiles before creating “a new way for people to memorialise accounts”.

Users reportedly responded badly to the plan to begin deleting accounts deemed inactive from December, a move BBC News tipped as the largest clean-up of Twitter’s user base to date, potentially involving millions of accounts.

Twitter said it might broaden its policy regarding inactive accounts around the world in the future to comply with local regulations and “to ensure the integrity of the service”.

The company admitted it had an inactive account policy since it was founded in 2006, but hadn’t enforced it consistently.