A Twitter Bug Is Exposing Users' Secret Circle Tweets To Everyone

In August 2022, Twitter rolled out Circle, which lets you limit your tweets to only a select set of users without turning your account private. While the feature started as means to restrict the visibility of your tweets to a group smaller than your followers count, a recent bug has reportedly been exposing your private tweets to many others outside your Circle, even if they don't follow you.

Numerous users have reported that tweets intended for Twitter Circles are reaching all followers instead of staying limited to followers inside the Circle. TechCrunch's Amanda Silberling, who spotted another person's seemingly private tweet, adds that personal posts appear in Twitter's recently introduced "For You" section.

Since the feature is designed to tweet privately, many users use it to share private thoughts and feelings and even share restricted media, including naked images, and the bug poses a massive privacy risk to the account posting all those private tweets.

Twitter Circle has been buggy for months

Certain users have witnessed their tweets from the Circle reach other followers outside it. Meanwhile, some others even say the tweets are even visible to users besides followers. Affected users primarily learned about the broken nature of the feature when a few strangers interacted with their tweets that were intended for the inner circle.

While it's difficult to pin the bug to a specific cause, it could be linked to the recent changes in Twitter's recommendation algorithm that segmented the feed into "For You" and "Following" timelines. As you would expect from the names, For You also displays tweets from accounts you don't follow.

Last October, public details of Elon Musk's private jet appeared on Twitter. Musk likened the incident to "doxing" and dealt with it by ordering the suspension of the @ElonJet account along with the accounts of journalists who reported about it. But apparently, when it comes to users' privacy — using a feature that supposedly guarantees it, Musk does not seem to be daunted much. Twitter Circle has reportedly been plagued with bugs for a few months now. These issues have not attracted Twitter's attention, even as the tech bigwig looks to relentlessly promote the platform's paid tier — called Twitter Blue.

This might amount to a violation of users' permission and equate to a data breach under the EU's regulations. Any monetary penalty, however, may be subject to intervention from regulators and lawmakers in the U.S.