Private Circle Tweets Exposed in Twitter Security Incident
Twitter has revealed that a "security incident" resulted in private tweets sent to Twitter Circles being displayed publicly last month. Twitter Circle, a feature introduced in August 2022, was created to allow users to send tweets to only a select group of people, supposedly ensuring that these tweets were not viewable by the general public.
According to Twitter's description of the feature, Twitter Circle allows one to create a private group of users. When functioning normally, tweets sent via this feature can only be viewed and interacted with by members of the Circle.
However, at the start of April, Twitter users started reporting that tweets intended for their Twitter Circle were publicly visible. These tweets, that were meant to be private, could be viewable in the For You timelines of users outside the relevant Circle.
In a recent notification sent to affected users, Twitter acknowledged that a “security incident” was the cause of the public display of private Twitter Circle tweets. The notification stated that the incident potentially impacted users' accounts and occurred in April 2023. Twitter claimed that its security team promptly identified and resolved the issue, ensuring the tweets were no longer shown to individuals outside of the intended Circle.
The company expressed its commitment to safeguarding the privacy of its users and acknowledged the potential risks associated with such incidents, expressing regret for the occurrence.
While Twitter did not disclose the specific details of the security incident, it is worth noting that the platform has undergone significant changes since Elon Musk assumed ownership late last year. Many of these alterations have focused on boosting the exposure of certain tweets via Twitter’s algorithm. In March, Musk announced that the algorithm would be updated every 28 to 48 hours.
It’s also been reported that certain Circle tweets still appear without the green banner, which is what signifies that they are only viewable to a specific audience. It’s only evident that these tweets are not public due to the retweet button being grayed out. This isn’t a privacy concern itself, but it could certainly be confusing for users.
It's not been possible to reach out to Twitter since their public relations team was laid off. This revelation comes amidst a flood of privacy and security concerns surrounding Twitter in the last few months.