I made a Twitter Circle with one person in it and posted this tweet for science. This was the result. Two people I don’t follow saw the tweet & liked it. One of those people doesn’t follow me either.
Twitter Circles aren’t private. Don’t post anything you want private in them. pic.twitter.com/p5uzlmIkuJ
— Ian Coldwater 📦💥 (@IanColdwater) April 10, 2023
This problem is confirmed not just by them, but also by others. According to a blog post by ex-Twitch engineer Theo Browne, he once tricked a friend who wasn’t in his circle into like a tweet that friend wasn’t supposed to see. His test demonstrated that many people he didn’t follow could see the Circles post and give it a thumbs up.
According to an article published by TechCrunch on Monday, Browne said that Twitter was not properly filtering private content before making it available in “For you” feeds. He said that some of his Circles tweets were visible to those who weren’t even following him. Twitter first made the algorithm-based “For you” setting the default, but rapidly reverted back.
While Gizmodo was unable to confirm the issue on its own, other users were reporting the same issue, namely that tweets from their Circles were showing up in the “For you” tabs of people who weren’t following them. BuzzFeed cited more individuals who indicated that answers to other users’ Circles tweets also seem to be taken into account by Twitter. A second user revealed that at least one of their non-followers had viewed the “risqué” photographs they had shared on their Circles.
When you try to contact Twitter’s PR team, you’ll get the “poop” emoji instead. Last month, Twitter made some of its source code available to the public. On Saturday, the company’s engineering team stated that they had modified the site’s algorithm. According to reports, after implementing these changes, the algorithm heavily prioritized responses and clicks. Users noticed issues with Circles on Friday before the modifications were made public, although it is still unclear if these issues were caused by the updates.
Users have reported seeing posts that should be restricted to people’s private communities for the first time, despite the feature’s history of bugs. Users have complained to TechCrunch that the green banner that should accompany a Circles tweet is not appearing.
In recent times, users have also identified additional significant issues with the platform. According to several users, their tweets have begun to mysteriously disappear. The engineering staff was decimated as part of owner Elon Musk’s major layoffs.
Yet, some issues that seemed like bugs turned out to be intentional design choices. Users on Twitter said they had trouble opening Substack links last week. Substack’s Twitter-like Notes function is to blame for the damage done to the links, as revealed by Matt Taibbi, one of Musk’s hand-picked Twitter Files mouthpieces.
Musk later indicated that Taibbi was an “employee” of Substack and that the company was attempting to “download a significant amount of the Twitter database.” Both allegations were refuted by Chris Best, CEO of Substack, who called the situation “extremely aggravating.”