Twitter announced today that an issue in its app for Android exposed some users’ protected tweets for over four years if they made certain changes to their account settings.
As a result, content intended only for approved followers became publicly visible.
Bug survived since late 2014
The problem caused the “Protect your Tweets” feature to become disabled for users of Twitter for Android that had it turned on and also made some modifications to their account, such as updating the associated email address.
Users fitting this profile between November 3, 2014, and January 14, 2019 – the day the issue got fixed – may be impacted by the bug, Twitter says in a post on its Help Center. iOS and Web clients are not impacted.
The company has already alerted the people known to the affected and enabled the “Protect your Tweets” setting for them. However, the exact number of accounts touched by the issue remains unestablished, and that’s why they published the announcement.
“We are providing this broader notice through the Twitter Help Center since we can’t confirm every account that may have been impacted,” Twitter says.
For the same reason, the social network tweeted about the issue to the almost 5.8 million followers of its Support account.
We’ve become aware of and fixed an issue where the “Protect your Tweets” setting was disabled on Twitter for Android. Those affected have been alerted and we’ve turned the setting back on for them. More here: https://t.co/0qM5B1S393
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) January 17, 2019
The message does not seem to have propagated well, though, with just 73 retweets and 170 likes recorded at the moment of writing.
Twitter encourages its users to verify the current status of the tweet-protection setting in their account to make sure it is in accordance with their preferences. A full review is underway to make certain that such a problem does not occur again.
The company promises to provide more information when it becomes available and if it is sufficiently important.