Twitter Circles bug exposes private tweets to everyone (Update: Twitter confirms breach)

Ink

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Jan 8, 2011
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PSA: Do not post your deepest darkest secrets on your Twitter Circle.

Numerous Twitter users are reporting a bug in which Circle tweets — which are supposed to reach a select group, like an Instagram Close Friends story — are surfacing on the algorithmically generated For You timeline. That means that your supposedly private posts might breach containment to reach an unintended audience, which could quickly spark some uncomfortable situations.

I observed this bug when a tweet from someone I follow appeared on my For You timeline, but the retweet button was disabled, despite the person’s account being public. When I clicked on the tweet, it disappeared. I asked the tweeter if that post was intended for their Circle — which I am not in — and they confirmed this was the case.
“Twitter seems to be outright failing to filter out private content before serving it to users,” Theo Browne, a creator and former Twitch engineer, told TechCrunch.
After laying off so many engineers, Twitter’s code has not quite been airtight. It’s possible, for instance, to see tweets from people who have blocked you, which poses yet another serious privacy concern.

We all know that we should be careful what we say on the internet. On Twitter, be extra careful — your private musings are no longer as private as you think.
 

Ink

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Jan 8, 2011
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Update: Twitter admits to a security breach that allowed everyone to see Twitter Circle tweets
Now, a month later, Twitter has finally acknowledged the issue and confirmed that a privacy breach did indeed gave everyone access to see tweets that were meant for Twitter Circle. In an email sent to the affected users, Twitter told that “a security incident that occurred earlier this year.”

Furthermore, the company mentioned that the issue “was identified by our security team and immediately fixed so that these tweets were no longer visible outside of your Circle”.
 

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