A security specialist recently confirmed that Twitter still keeps deleted messages, such as direct messages between users, years after people had discarded them. Moreover, banned and deactivated accounts have also had their messages recovered. Here's what we know about this issue.
According to TechCrunch, security researcher Karan Saini said that Twitter still keeps direct messages for several years, even the ones deleted from the social media platform. In addition, data from banned and deactivated accounts are still kept in their databases. Saini was able to find many messages from 2018 and prior when he extracted some data from deleted accounts on Twitter. Normally, deactivated pages will have their accounts fully deleted after a month. These deleted Twitter accounts should have had their data wiped clean off the social media's servers to prevent anyone from accessing whatever the account had posted and sent throughout the platform.
Saini was also able to access old messages through a bug last year. Saini noted that he was able to access these messages after using an old application that retrieves old Twitter messages even if they were deleted from both ends of the conversation. However, messages from banned accounts were not retrieved through this bug.
Previously, Twitter allowed users to permanently get rid of messages by deleting them on their own mail. However, this feature was reverted back to simple message deletion from the sender's end without affecting the receiving end once the message has been sent.
While this is a good thing for users who want to retrieve important but accidentally removed content, this can spell problems for others as the messages could be used against them and potentially put them in some unfortunate legal and social situations. However, Twitter has confirmed that they're already looking into this feature to see how big the issue really is and act accordingly.
For now, we'll have to wait and see if Twitter will set their "delete" design as a full scrub of related data or just make your account difficult to access after its supposed "deletion."
This article was first published in IBTimes US. Permission required for reproduction.