How do I delete a post on Mastodon?

To delete one of your posts:

  1. Go to the post you want to delete
  2. Click the ⋯ icon
  3. Select “Delete”

This should delete the post straight away on your own server. Most other servers where the post is visible will delete it too, though in some cases there may be a delay in the deletion happening (as the other server may have a queue of tasks to work through).

In a small number of cases a deletion may not happen on the other server, for example if the other server is not working properly. If you’re concerned about how widely a post may be seen, you can restrict its visibility when you post it.

Can I edit posts instead of deleting them?

Yes! See the guide to post editing.

When should I edit? When should I delete?

If you’re correcting a mistake in the post, it’s probably better to edit it. Deletions are generally just if you want to remove a post forever.

Editing means the post stays at the same link as before, and if your post was shared by other people it will still be visible in their feeds. It also means all the replies to the post will remain intact and visible below the post.

If you delete a post, any links to the post will break and all the shares of that post will disappear. All replies to the deleted post will be orphaned and very difficult to find.

What does “Delete and re-draft” mean?

There are actually two delete options on Mastodon, Delete or Delete and re-draft. The first just deletes the message, but the second deletes the message and sends a copy of it to the post writing box so you can make changes and repost it.

Since the introduction of post editing on Mastodon this second option has been largely obsolete. However, there are a couple of cases where you might want to use it:

  • Delete & re-draft is the easiest way to change the visibility of a post, as this cannot be done through editing.
  • Delete & re-draft is very useful if you accidentally include sensitive information within an otherwise okay post. Editing will not hide this information totally, because all previous versions of an edited post are visible by clicking the Edited link below the post. (This audit trail of previous versions is a deliberate safety feature to prevent “bait & switch” abuse of editing.)

Bear in mind that both delete options delete the post, and any shares will be lost, links will break and replies will be orphaned. If you just want to make changes to the content, editing is usually a much better option.

Can I set old posts to self-delete automatically?

Yes! Click here to see instructions on how to delete posts after a certain time period.

Are there any reasons to delete and re-post the same content?

There are niche cases where deletion and reposting can be useful. For example, if the replies thread below a post has gone totally off the rails and you want to “reset” the discussion, deleting and reposting it lets you start from scratch.

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