Updated Twitter has silently, and without warning, deleted reams of lists users have spent months curating. These lists are used by journalists, activists, and loads of other people, to organize and manage twits they follow and aggregate their tweets, links, photos, and videos.
They are, in a way, personalized RSS feeds of information from the Twitter firehose.
For the past several days, though, lists have been disappearing from folks' profiles with no notification, and no explanation from Twitter thus far. Some private, or locked, lists have been made public.
Great, @Twitter seems to have deleted my Turkey list and made some of my private lists public. 😐— Zia Weise (@ZiaWeise) September 4, 2017
Among those impacted by the cockup is Australian freelance journalist and Cryptoparty founder Asher Wolf, who said the issue appears to be tied those who use the mobile Twitter App. Switching to different platforms doesn't help access or restore missing lists, however.
Wolf added that in her case, the deleted lists represented thousands of hours worth of work and were a critical professional tool. "I have three locked lists that I scan for journalism, infosec and Middle East news. Those lists are gone," she tweeted. "My three biggest lists just disappeared. Decade of work. Other ppl also reporting lists disappearing."
"Twitter lists breaking basically breaks my ability to work and makes me want to pivot away from Twitter list curation," Wolf told The Register.
"I can't trust the work I do using info from Twitter will still be there the next time I look at Twitter and that's really scary considering how much time I spend curating lists."
Wolf is not alone. Countless peeps have noted the same problem. Here are just a few...
wtf my twitter lists got deleted— Zoe 🍚 / 7 - 1 = ∞ (@ifntlove) September 3, 2017
I just noticed Twitter deleted all the people in my lists. I have no idea why— Kasumi (@Kasumigs) September 3, 2017
Twitter, meanwhile, has yet to provide any update or advice from users who have had their lists go missing. The social networking site has not responded to a request for comment and no mention of the issue was made on Twitter's support account.
It's speculated the vanishing act was triggered by concerns within the San Francisco tech upstart that lists were being used to fuel online harassment, or organize serious crimes such as terrorism. Your guess is as good as anyone's right now. ®
Updated to add
There is a glitch and the glitch is real. A spokesperson for Twitter told us:
There is currently a bug affecting lists on Twitter for iOS, but people should still be able to see their lists on twitter.com. We are working on a fix and expect this issue to be resolved shortly.