Deleted tweets revived by Twitter bug, warns affected security expert

Deleted tweets revived by Twitter bug, warns affected security expert

Check your Twitter NOW: Bug sees deleted tweets reshared for some users – potentially causing headache for thousands

  • Error reveals that Twitter’s servers have secretly kept all users’ deleted tweets
  • Users report having as many as 34k and 35k zombie Tweets return from deletion 
  • READ MORE: Surprise Twitter glitch kicked users out – and won’t them back in!

If you have tweeted and deleted any comments you regret making, or have posted a racy photo you meant to keep private, now would be a good to make extra sure it all stayed in the trash. 

Twitter users over the past week have reported an unnerving new bug that has resurfaced thousands and even tens of thousands of old deleted tweets for some individual profiles. 

It’s not yet clear how many profiles suffered from the glitch or why, although some web developers are speculating that the undead tweets may have been revived along with a rebooted Twitter back-up server.

One security expert and open-source developer reported having a staggering 34,000 old tweets come back to haunt him last week. ‘This shows why you should NOT be using Twitter, ever,’ the expert  posted on the nonprofit Twitter-alternative Mastodon.

Open-source developer and security expert Dick Morrell discovered 34,000 of his deleted tweets have mysterious come back from the trash bin. Morrell speculated that the troubled social media ‘presumably brought a server farm back up’ resurrecting deletions by mistake

‘Last November, I deleted all my Tweets. Every single one,’ As Richard ‘Dick’ Morrell, the open-source developer, security expert, and former CTO/Chairman of the internet security firm SmoothWall told his Mastodon followers. ‘All my likes, my media, and retweets. 38k tweets gone.’ 

‘Woke up today to find 34k of them restored by Twitter, who presumably brought a server farm back up,’ Morrell theorized.

Technology reporter Ian Betteridge claimed the glitch had affected him too.

‘I deleted everything,’ he  posted to Mastodon. ‘Now 35,000 tweets are back.’

‘I’m not sure that’s all I have ever done,’ Betteridge noted, ‘but it’s definitely a lot of content I had deleted.’

A self-described ‘ex-twitter employee’ on Mastodon corroborated Morrell’s explanation, posting that ‘this sounds a lot like they moved a bunch of servers between datacenters.’ 

Twitter’s skeleton crew of remaining site engineers, this poster suggested ‘didn’t properly adjust the topology before reinserting them into the network, leading to stale data becoming revived.’

Tech reporter Ian Betteridge claimed the bug has made 35,000 of his deleted tweets live again

Twitter’s new owner, billionaire electric carmaker Elon Musk, famously inaugurated his reign as the social media company’s new CEO by carrying a porcelain sink into Twitter HQ. Now more material is making a surprise entry onto the platform: many users’ old deleted tweets

Attempting to troubleshoot the problem from the outside, the Twitter users impacted noted that the problem appeared to not be linked to any one third-party app for managing tweets. 

Morrell told followers that he had used the digital deletion tool Redact, which helps users clean up and remove posts from multiple social media sites beyond Twitter, including Reddit, Facebook, and Discord. But one reporter at the Verge noted that they experienced the same zombie tweet issue, while having used simpler web service TweetDelete.net.   

Adding to the stress for users, many of these older automated services employed to more easily manage or even schedule the deletion their old tweets have been rendered inoperable thanks to Musk’s plan to put Twitter’s API behind a paywall. 

‘With no api its going to take ages to delete all those tweets!!’ one user said. 

While lingering tweets have long plagued users, thanks to search engine caches and other archival mechanisms, this issue appears to suggest that Twitter maintains deleted tweets for far longer than users may want.

The bug is just the latest in an extremely rocky start to Musk’s tenure at own, with the platform’s San Francisco HQ under investigation for potential building code violations alongside numerous technical issues nagging the social media site itself. 

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