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Twitter Circles are no longer private.

According to several Twitter users, circle tweets— designed to reach a small group, like an Instagram Close Friends story—appear on the algorithmically created For You timeline. It implies your private posts may reach an unwanted audience, which might lead to embarrassing circumstances.

Despite the public account, the retweet button was disabled when a tweet from someone I follow showed on my For You timeline. The tweet vanished as I clicked it. I asked the tweeter whether that post was for their Circle, which I am not in, and they verified.

Their tweet about missing “Succession” was harmless (honestly, same). However, this problem can be dangerous for users submitting work grievances, crush gossip, or nudes.

TechCrunch has spoken to several individuals who have encountered this bug, and many more have tweeted about it. Circle tweets appear most commonly in the For You timeline for individuals who follow the poster but are not in their Circle. However, some claim their Circle tweets extend beyond their followers.

“Twitter seems to be flatly failing to filter out private information before exposing it to users,” founder and former Twitch developer Theo Browne told TechCrunch. Twitter released the full code for its recommendation system, which sources, ranks, and filters tweets using different models. Browne theorized that the sourcing strategy is exposing private tweets without filtering them.

“Our initial release of the so-called algorithm is going to be extremely humiliating, and people are going to uncover a lot of problems, but we’ll correct them very quickly,” said Twitter owner Elon Musk. For example, when Twitter’s public relations personnel was laid off, its press email auto-responds with a poop emoji, making it impossible to confirm. But, Twitter’s track record under Musk’s ownership suggests that this flaw won’t be solved soon, and the “Chief Twit” appears preoccupied with other matters.

Twitter Circle has been unstable for months, but private Circle tweets were seldom breaking confinement until today. TechCrunch noted two months ago that circle tweets often appear without the green flag. Nonetheless, these tweets only appeared for Circle members and could not be retweeted, revealing their Circle status. That flaw was bad, but this one exposes private tweets.

Twitter’s code isn’t perfect after firing so many engineers. For instance, you may observe banned users’ tweets.

We know to watch what we say online. So be careful on Twitter—your thoughts are no longer private.

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