Bug exposed private tweets from Twitter for Android users for 4 years

One of the challenges of using social media, which often comes across as a crowded marketplace where everyone is struggling to shout themselves hoarse, is determining who gets to see what when it comes to what you share.

Where some social networks that seemed to totally ace this like Google+ have failed, the main ones, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, among others, still remain at it with that specific goal being limited to features they offer.

On Twitter, users have the ability to take their accounts “private”. This essentially means that only people or accounts they follow and those they authorize to follow them can be privy to what they share on the platform.

That is all good when the feature is working, though.

As many users have been finding out over the last few days, Twitter discovered – and has since fixed – a bug that failed to protect tweets sent by users who had elected to have whatever they share on the platform remain private.

Users who had protected their tweets had them exposed to everyone on the platform if they made any changes to their account settings – like, say, changing the email address – between November 3, 2014, and January 14, 2019.

It is interesting to note that this particular bug was limited to something most people use since, by virtue of Android being the most popular mobile platform in the world, there are many people downloading the official Twitter app to their smartphones: Twitter for Android. Heck, not only does it come pre-installed on some devices, Twitter makes every effort in its book of tricks to frustrate developers who create tempting third-party options.

“People on iOS or the web were not impacted,” reads part of a statement posted by Twitter on January 17th, 3 days after it reportedly fixed the bug.

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Have something that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze [at] androidkenya.com

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