San Francisco: Twitter and popular browser Mozilla Firefox have locked up horns over users chat data like Direct Messages (DMs) being inadvertently stored in the browser’s cache on desktops.
Twitter alleged that it has recently learned that the way Mozilla Firefox stores cached data may have resulted in non-public information being inadvertently stored in the browser’s cache.
It means that if you accessed Twitter from a shared or public computer via Mozilla Firefox and took actions like downloading your Twitter data archive or sending or receiving media via Direct Message (DM), “this information may have been stored in the browser’s cache even after you logged out of Twitter,” said micro-blogging platform.
The Mozilla Firefox browser’s cache retention period is set to 7 days and after that time the information should have automatically been removed from the cache, said Twitter, adding that the issue did not impact people using other browsers like Safari or Chrome.
Firefox did not take the allegation lightly, saying why has Twitter only singled out them.
“Why is this just Firefox? The technical details are complicated but the high level is pretty simple: caching is complicated and each browser behaves somewhat differently; with the particular way that Twitter had their site set up, Chrome, Safari, and Edge don’t cache this data but Firefox will,” Firefox Chief Technology Officer Eric Rescorla said in a statement late Friday.
“It’s not that we’re right and they’re wrong. It’s just a normal difference in browser behaviour. There is a standard way to ensure that data isn’t cached, but until recently Twitter didn’t use it, so they were just dependent on non-standard behaviour on some browsers,” he informed.
According to him, all web browsers store local copies of data they get from servers so that they can avoid downloading the same data over the internet repeatedly.
“If you do share a computer, you can make sure all of your Twitter data is deleted by following the instructions. If you do nothing, the data will be automatically deleted after 7 days the next time you run Firefox,” Rescorla said.
Twitter said while cache data is only stored locally on Firefox browser users’ devices, they have implemented a change so that Mozilla Firefox no longer stores Twitter data in the cache at all.
“We’re very sorry this happened”.
“If you use, or have used, a public or shared computer to access Twitter, we encourage you to clear the browser cache before logging out, and to be cautious about the personal information you download on a computer that other people use,” said Twitter.