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Twitter is Just Randomly Deleting People's Lists -- and No One Knows Why (theregister.co.uk) 115

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, reports The Register. From the article: 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. 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, however.
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Twitter is Just Randomly Deleting People's Lists -- and No One Knows Why

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  • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @05:42PM (#55150413) Homepage Journal

    ... to move over to Gab. They've seen the writing on the wall.

  • then you pray
  • "Pfffft, us big webbies ain't need no stinkin' ACID." [wikipedia.org]

  • If you spend time on twitter you are a twit.

    twit (n) - One who bites their own fart bubbles in the bathtub.
  • by CharlesAKAChuck ( 1157011 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @06:16PM (#55150567)
    Yeah, I'm old.
    • by taustin ( 171655 )

      I've said from the beginning that if you have something to say that can be said in 140 characters, you have nothing to say.

      • by lucm ( 889690 )

        From the linked article:

        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."

        This is a valid use case, although I'm skeptical about the "thousands of hours" figure unless the lady is a total retard.

        • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @07:31PM (#55150873)

          Where were their backups? They *did* keep backups, right? Or did they just trust a third party to not have an incident such as this?

          • by lucm ( 889690 )

            That's the magical thinking of the cloud. Free, always up, never lose a byte of data.

        • So you have something you put thousands of hours of work into, and you have no form of backup under your control? You're an idiot, lady.

        • by taustin ( 171655 )

          Valid case of what? Of someone relying on a free service ("If you're not paying for the service, you're not the customer, you're the product.") to act like a professional service (and you now, keep backups and shit) because they're clueless? Yeah, it's that.

          • by lucm ( 889690 )

            Valid case of what?

            It's a valid use case of twitter lists. She's using it to monitor various topics that are relevant to her work.

            • by taustin ( 171655 )

              If it matters, and you don't keep backups, you are an idiot. If it matters, and your only copy is on a free service like Twitter, you are an even bigger idiot, and deserve whatever misery you get, and more.

              • by lucm ( 889690 )

                I did a quick search and while I found ways to export Twitter lists to csv, I didn't find a way to restore them. That's the thing with those online tools, you don't control everything.

                You can decide not to use a product that you can't backup/restore, but then you're in the same situation as someone using it without a backup, except for the fact that the person who uses it enjoys it while you don't.

  • I basically don't log in anymore and NEVER on mobile*, yet I logged in recently and several people I would never ever consider not following, I was no longer following.

    Furthermore, those people are still following me, so they didn't do the "block, then unblock" trick to stop me following them.

    This has been going on for years. Very frustrating.

    * (on the mobile web version, or app, it can be easy tho accidentally hit the unfollow button.

  • ... I will never use Twitter:

    1. [Redacted]

  • We call it "a bug".

    • Agreed, definitely a bug in the system. I worked for a bank a long while ago and one of my colleagues put a commit in the wrong place on a debit order system, by the time the code hit the commit the primary key had *sometimes* changed, so it was either updating the correct record, or the wrong record, or deleting the wrong record. We only realized something was wrong when the complaints from customers filtered down to I.T. and we went looking for the issue, really fucked up my weekend. Why does shit *mos
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Those idiots at Twitter are in love with key-value storage solutions. What is probably happening is a new set of tools that generate unique keys to store some type of data is probably colliding with existing tools that generate keys for the list feature. But because the architecture is designed to be fault tolerant in the event of a missing key, or a returned key value that doesn't make sense in the "list" context, the results get thrown out and the system pretends that there is no data there.

  • Do not use proprietary services for anything mission critical without a total backup and fallback in place.
    Better yet:
    Do not use prorietary services. Period.

    It's not that difficult, is it?

    Besides, I really don't get Twitter at all. Besides the marginal case of continuos mindshare within smaller distributed teams working on one larger problem/product. A purpose it orignially was designed for. I remember when Twitter just came out. I looked into it for about 3 minutes, thought to myself "Who needs this?" and

  • This is probably some algorithm that a developer came up with when the OutOfDiskSpaceException gets thrown. They probably took a WAG at what it ought to do and this is what they came up with. It reclaims the least important disk space usage to allocate space for new usage. If the Product Owner cared about this scenario, they should have made better acceptance criteria.
  • Are they sure no one knows? That would mean it's a bug.

    If this is instead Twitter intentionally purging lists for some reason, then someone knows why, they just aren't saying. That's a really different thing.

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