Twitter apologises to users over glitch that published private Circles content, following weeks of complaints
Twitter has acknowledged to affected users a “security incident” that allowed supposedly private messages in a feature called Circles to be read and even liked by outsiders.
The Circles feature allows users to post supposedly private content, such as sensitive material or seemingly unprofessional remarks, that will only be seen by other users in the Circle.
But users had complained for weeks that messages posted to some Circles were receiving views and likes from people outside the approved list of users.
Twitter has largely disbanded its press office under owner Elon Musk, and has not publicly commented on the issue.
But the firm wrote to affected users saying the issue had been “identified by our security team and immediately fixed”.
“A security incident that occurred earlier this year may have allowed users outside of your Twitter Circle to see tweets that should have otherwise been limited to the Circle to which you were posting,” the email read.
“Twitter is committed to protecting the privacy of the people who use our service, and we understand the risks that an incident like this can introduce and we deeply regret this happened,” it continued.
The message did not address separate complaints that messages posted by “private” accounts, whose tweets should only be available to approved followers, were also being made available to others.
Musk has fired about 80 percent of Twitter’s staff since taking over last October, and has instituted cost-cutting measures including stopping rent payments on office spaces in London and San Francisco.
At the same time the platform has experienced repeated outages and has drastically reduced its content moderation teams, potentially opening it up to multimillion-euro fines in countries such as Germany, where effective content moderation is a legal requirement.
Musk has said he wants the company to make more use of artificial intelligence to police content, rather than human staff.