The Undead Tweets: Unexplained Resurgence of Deleted Posts Raises Privacy Concerns on Twitter
Twitter is no stranger to cybersecurity and privacy issues, but two recently identified bugs are posing unique challenges and sparking widespread concern among its users.
The first issue came to light when a privacy glitch in Twitter’s recommendation algorithm resulted in users’ private tweets being displayed on their public timeline. This bug exposed the private posts of numerous users to their followers, and potentially, to a wider audience. Recognizing the gravity of this breach, Twitter promptly acknowledged the issue as a bug and swiftly rectified it.
Today, however, another alarming issue surfaced on the platform: previously deleted tweets mysteriously reappearing on users’ timelines, sometimes weeks after deletion. The unsettling part of this saga is not just the resurrection of the tweets, but the unexplained delay in their reappearance.
This concern was first raised by James Vincent, an editor at The Verge, who noticed some of his tweets, including retweets he had deleted two weeks earlier, had inexplicably returned to his personal profile’s timeline.
And Vincent is not alone in his bewilderment. A slew of Twitter users have reported similar occurrences, with tweets they had deleted long ago mysteriously reappearing. One such user, Morrell, noticed that out of 38,000 tweets he deleted in November 2022, at least 34,000 had resurfaced by last week.
This raises the question: why do tweets deleted six months ago have the ability to come back to life? One potential explanation is that when a user ‘deletes’ a tweet, Twitter may only flag it as deleted instead of completely eradicating it from the system. This implies that in the event of a system glitch, these ‘deleted’ flags might malfunction, leading to the resurfacing of the supposedly erased tweets.
At the moment, Twitter has not yet issued a response regarding this peculiar issue. Attempts to contact their external email have only returned an automated reply, providing no insight into the issue. As users eagerly await a fix, this resurgence of ‘undead’ tweets continues to shake the trust in Twitter’s privacy measures.
In a digital age where the lines between public and private are increasingly blurred, these issues serve as stark reminders of the importance of digital privacy and data management. It remains to be seen how Twitter will address this perplexing issue and rebuild users’ faith in its privacy policies.