Twitter is being plagued by a new bug that is causing all sorts of privacy issues. Tweets that had previously been deleted – including replies and retweets – have recently resurfaced onto user profiles.
Despite a new CEO, the influence of Elon Musk and his crumbling infrastructure continues to plague the platform. Particularly as he remains the lead on product development, design and delivery.
This bug is just the latest in a long line of issues that have cropped up and caused glitches on the site. While some, such as a video’s audio continuing to play despite scrolling past it, may seem trivial, this most recent bug is starting to create very real issues around privacy.
Zombie Tweets Could Spark Real-World Problems
Information and data around the latest widespread bug is purely anecdotal for now. However, the rate at which tweets are reappearing is significant, with one security expert reporting almost 34,000 messages being restored.
While it appears to be a frustrating yet ultimately superficial issue for most, having old tweets that could appear dubious in the cold light of 2023 culture and society can have significant negative implications.
Similarly, activists, whistle blowers and protestors across the globe still value the platform as an important tool. Take Turkey for example, who have forced the company to block certain tweets during their elections. Should old, potentially harmful content resurface it could cause legitimate real-world problems beyond a few red faces.
These so-called zombie tweets could soon begin to impact freedom and free speech.
Concerns Grow for Data Privacy and Protection
While the cause of the bug is still unknown, it sparks a wider conversation around the handling and protection of data and privacy. However, with the lack of a Twitter press team users, journalists and former employees are only able to speculate as to what could have happened.
Those who have batch-deleted tweets using a third-party service like Redact or TweetDelete seem to be the most affected. However, some have hypothesized that Twitter’s servers moving around and accidentally restoring the data could be behind the resurgence of old content.
“It sounds a lot like they moved a bunch of servers between data centers and didn’t properly adjust the topology before reinserting them into the network.” – A former Twitter Site Reliability Engineer
So What Is Going On Over At Twitter?
It’s no secret that users are ditching the platform in droves. In fact, 60% have taken a break from using the site in the past 12 months. With news story after news story of bizarre violations and technical issues, it comes as no surprise.
Since Musk took over the platform, bugs have become more prevalent. There's no doubt about it, the site has steadily been disintegrating in both infrastructure and technology, and has been unable to fulfill basic user functions.
Take last month’s bug for example, where private tweets were being made public and causing the same data concerns as this current bug. It does all make sense though, and to a lot of people comes as no surprise, when you consider the mass employee firings.
Despite Musk’s bravado on how he is running the company – as noted in the default “💩” replies to any press enquiries – the relentless bugs and bad news coming out of Twitter HQ is not good for business.
Particularly as there are other platforms – from Meta to Mastodon – waiting in the wings to welcome ex-Twitter users.