Bug Exposed Twitter Users Private Messages

Just how private are those private messages on social media? Less so than you might expect, according to news Twitter shared last week. For over a year, an unknown bug exposed Twitter users private messages to third party developers.

What happened? And who does this affect?

If you had contact with someone using the Account Activity API (AAAPI), the bug could expose your messages and even protected tweets. The same is also true if your business uses a service that utilizes the AAAPI— more on that later.

Fortunately, the bug didn’t reveal these tweets to just anyone. It could only go to other users of the AAAPI and only in very specific instances. This means that the bug affected less than 1% of users, but this still represents around 3 million accounts. Twitter is already notifying affected users and developers, so be on the look out.

So what is the Account Activity API, and who uses it?

The AAAPI lets developers build tools to better manage customer relationships on Twitter. So it is not uncommon for a business to use some tool based on the AAAPI.

Thankfully, this bug didn’t affect every use of the AAAPI, and is relatively limited in scope. But this should make us stop and think about online privacy.

What can we learn from this?

Perhaps the biggest thing to consider is how private anything shared online is. No matter how much you try and restrict it, sharing things on social media exposes them to someone. That someone in turn can share, or that a bug like this one can expose to others.

Because the very nature of social media is sharing, people need to consider carefully what they share. A bug like this can be of very little concern if you make a habit of not sharing too much personal info on social media.

Even private messages and tweets, there’s still the possibility of exposure online. So remember to consider that risk before sharing personal or business data online!

What’s next?

Even though a bug exposed Twitter users private messages, you can still take the steps to stay secure online. Need help? Haider Consulting is ready to help your business meet your cyber security goals. Contact us when you’re ready to take your cyber security to the next level!

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