April 14, 2023

Your Twitter Circle Isn’t Actually Private Right Now

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Your Twitter Circle is your inner sanctum: While your average tweets might be suitable for public consumption, your private thoughts are only for your confidants. So, if your Twitter Circle tweets were being seen by people outside your Circle, that’d be bad, and a breach of the Twitter Circle circle of trust. Perhaps you can see where this is going.

As TechCrunch reports, “numerous Twitter users” are seeing their private Twitter Circle tweets appear in other people’s For You feeds. These other users do not belong to the Circle the tweet was sent to, which means the basic function of the Circle is currently flawed. TechCrunch spoke to multiple users who witnessed the bug on their end, who often report their Twitter Circle tweets appearing to followers who don’t belong to the Circle. However, in some cases, these tweets show up in the feeds of users who don’t follow the poster at all.

Take Twitter user Ian Coldwater, who wanted to test out these reports for themself. They made a Twitter Circle with one fellow user in it, then tweeted “Like if you can see this” to that Circle. If the feature was working as advertised, the only person who should be able to like the tweet (and, therefore, see it) would be the one Coldwater added to the Circle. However, three people ended up liking the tweet, including two people Coldwater didn’t even follow in the first place. Other users replies to Coldwater in the thread confirming they saw the message in their feeds not labeled as a Twitter Circle tweet.

It isn’t clear how widespread this issue is, or what the risk is of your Twitter Circle tweets appearing in the wrong feeds. However, it’s clear something is wrong with the feature, and it can’t be trusted for sensitive or private thoughts.

If you primarily use Twitter Circles as a casual way to express your thoughts to a selective group of people, maybe the risk isn’t an issue. If the “wrong” person sees your thoughts on your favorite TV show, that’s not particularly compromising. However, if your Twitter Circle is your way to vent about your job, look for new experiences without alerting your employer, share a difficult private situation in your life, or any other sensitive information with trusted accounts, this is your warning to stop.

It’s another example of a major Twitter feature no longer working as it should. For all the drama surrounding the company’s current situation, it’s clear they no longer have the resources to reliably keep things running. After all, Instagram’s Close Friends is still working, and Snapchat’s Private Story is still working; Twitter Circles, however, is not.

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