For better or for worse, we’ve sort of gotten used to the occasional downtime, lost profile images, and other quirky phenomena that strike Twitter as it goes through its never-ending growing pains. But this crosses the line.
This morning Twitter made a post to its official status blog stating that it was, among other things, having problems with phone settings, profile photos, and misdelivery of direct messages. You know, the ones that are supposed to be private. Twitter is blaming the problem on an “underlying data inconsistency in our service”. An update to the blog post at 5:55 AM this morning stated that the issue had been fixed, and that Twitter was in the process of “putting everything back in its right place”, which is apparently still ongoing.
It’s one thing for Direct Messages to suck from a functionality standpoint (Twitter’s DM feature is really basic). But it’s another thing entirely for these messages to start going to the wrong people. Imagine if Gmail or Facebook started accidentally sending your messages to the wrong person – it’s a breach of user trust. Twitter did the right thing by reporting it on its blog (though we’ve gotten a few tips from confused users who are getting messages from strangers), but this sort of thing just can’t happen.
Thanks to Pierre Fontenelle for the tip.