Twitter’s privacy feature that allows users to post tweets to a smaller group of friends, called Circles, is currently broken and allowing anyone to see the private tweets, according to a new report from BuzzFeed and several users on Twitter. And that means content people thought would only be shared with a small circle of people—including everything from nude photos to gossip—is spilling out into public right now.
“I made a Twitter Circle with one person in it and posted this tweet for science. It was the end result. Two people I don’t follow saw the tweet & liked it. Another of these people isn’t following me. Twitter circles aren’t public. Don’t post anything you want private in them,” Twitter user Ian Coldwater tweeted on Monday.
Other users have reported their sensitive content is also becoming public, with some tweets even showing up in the “For You” panel of people who don’t even follow those accounts.
“FYI circles are not private rn. Please do not post sensitive information in circles because other people can see it,” another Twitter user posted on Saturday.
Circles was introduced in August 2022 and was billed as a great way to share content that Twitter users didn’t want to be seen by large groups of people.
“With Twitter Circle, people now have the flexibility to choose who can see and engage with their content on a Tweet-by-Tweet basis. This makes it easier to have more intimate conversations and build closer connections with select followers,” Twitter explained when it announced Circles.
Twitter answered questions Monday using a poop emoticon, an automatic response created by Elon Musk. The billionaire has taken a lot of heat since he purchased the social media platform in October 2022, with many advertisers expressing concern about Musk’s political opinions, as well as his embrace of noted racists on the platform.
Musk came up for Scott Adams’ defense after being dropped from every paper in America following his racist comments. Adams stated that White people should avoid being near Blacks, the latest of a series of offensive comments. Musk, however, defended Adams and said that the mainstream media was full of racists.
Several major advertisers have objected to Musk being a highlighted speaker at the Possible Conference in Miami later this month, with many citing his history of “racist” statements. But it’s not just the racism that has been spooking major brands. Musk has increasingly shown a very juvenile sense of humor on Twitter, which can’t help instill confidence in the people making ad buying decisions for family-friendly brands.
In the latest example of Musk acting childish, the billionaire said on Sunday he’d painted over the “W” in Twitter on the sign at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco—apparently a joke about breasts.
“Our landlord at SF HQ says we’re legally required to keep sign as Twitter & cannot remove ‘w’, so we painted it background color. Problem solved!” Musk tweeted on Sunday.
The Circles fiasco is just the latest problem that’s sure to hamper Musk’s efforts to reassure advertisers that Twitter is a safe space for their brands. But it seems unlikely Musk will change any of his tactics and there’s no public indication that he’s concerned about the leak of nudes currently happening on Twitter. The best way to sum it up is with a “poop” emoji.