Twitter bug exposes private tweets to strangers

Several Twitter users have uncovered a bug in the platform that leaks private tweets shared in Twitter Circles on the main “For You” feed.

Twitter Circle is a feature that lets users send tweets to a “smaller” group of select people no larger than 150 members, rather than all Twitter users or all those that follow the original tweet poster.

According to Twitter’s description of the feature, only people currently in a circle are supposed to see tweets shared in that Circle.

But TechCrunch writer Amanda Silberling was among many Twitter users who noticed these tweets were inadvertently popping up elsewhere.

Silberling saw a tweet from someone she followed on her “For You” timeline and realised its retweet button was disabled despite the poster’s account being public.

After she clicked on the tweet, it disappeared.

She followed up with the poster to find out if they had published the tweet in one of their Circles, which they confirmed to be the case.

Fortunately, the tweet was not sensitive and merely expressed the poster’s feelings of being left out for not watching the Succession TV series.

But the bug might land someone in trouble who use their Circle to complain about their job or boss, gossip about family and friends, or other privileged or sensitive information.

Among others complaining about the issue was founder and former Twitch engineer Theo Browne.

Browne told TechCrunch the sourcing model in Twitter’s recommendation algorithm might have been responsible for the bug.

However, it was difficult to confirm this or learn whether Twitter was working on resolving the bug, given that it recently laid off its public relations team and its press email now auto-responds with a poop emoji.

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