A major Twitter bug has been discovered recently, and it appears that it has been affecting users for more than years. iOS users were not exposed, as only the Android app had this flaw. It appears that for the past four years, tweets from private accounts were made public.
Twitter did admit its mistake on Thursday. It appears that the bug existed since November 3, 2016. The “Protect your Tweets” setting was changed when a user changed his email address or other account settings. When this happened, hidden tweets became visible to everyone.
“We’ve informed people we know were affected by this issue and have turned “Protect your Tweets” back on for them if it was disabled,” Twitter explained. “We are providing this broader notice through the Twitter Help Center since we can’t confirm every account that may have been impacted.”
Twitter did not offer the number of users that were affected by this bug. However, considering that Android is the OS with the most users in the world, there is a big chance that plenty of users were affected. If you own an Android, it is recommended that you take a look at settings in order to make sure that the “Protect your Tweets” preference is still turned on.
This bug could have affected plenty of users who decided to keep their profiles private in order to avoid harassment or exposing their private information. This is not exactly the first time this happens, as back in September an API bug also allowed some developers to read protected users or even DMs/
Twitter also apologized for the mistake and promised to avoid future similar errors: “We’re very sorry this happened and we’re conducting a full review to help prevent this from happening again.”
Nora Reynolds is a major in biology and a minor in Biological Basis of Behavior, writing about science in general. She also likes to try new gadgets and sports about the AI new era.