Yesterday's Twitter snafu has had a significant impact outside the platform itself. In what Google has confirmed to us was an intentional response to the breach, the Twitter carousel has been disabled in Google Search results, and data gathered by Search Engine Roundtable confirms the change is universal.
In case you somehow missed yesterday's news, Twitter suffered a massive social engineering security breach, granting access to the company's internal management tools. The breach directly impacted quite a few high-profile Twitter accounts, including accounts by Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffet (among a larger list). Affected accounts promoted a fairly obvious Bitcoin scam promising unrealistic returns for transfers to a specific address. Shortly after it started, Twitter imposed a lockdown on verified accounts, and a few hours later, things were mostly back to normal — though folks that tried to reset their passwords during that time have suffered ongoing issues. Some accounts may take a bit longer to end up back in the right hands.
Google has since confirmed to us that it stripped the Twitter carousel from search results deliberately but temporarily following yesterday's events. Though a firm schedule wasn't provided, Google also told us that the feature will eventually return following a review. The full statement provided to us is just below:
"We can confirm we have temporarily removed the Twitter carousel from Search following Twitter's security issues. Before restoring the feature we will carry out a careful review."
Usually, tweets associated with a given name or brand appear near the top of results in a rotating card carousel for easy access, but that carousel has entirely disappeared now.
Data from FiveBlocks indicating a drop in Twitter boxes in search results. Image via Search Engine Roundtable.
The news was first spotted by Australian SEO consultant Brodie Clark, and both Google's later response to our inquiry and data from other SEO firms confirms the change. The Twitter carousel has been replaced by a single standard search result from Twitter.
Before and after results in Google Search for "Kanye." Note the carousel on the left is gone on the right, replaced by a generic Twitter result. Image via @brodieseo.
Although Google didn't spell out its motivations to us, they're pretty clear. With high-profile Twitter accounts promoting scams yesterday, it was in Google's best interests not to repeat that information at a venue where the moderating effect of context (like replies indicating that nature of the scam) might not be available. Google Search and related products like the Google Knowledge Graph are pretty authoritative, and folks seeing the tweets in results in isolation might be misled.
In the meantime, we'll have to live without the Twitter carousel in our search results, until Google does its review and brings the feature back to Search.
Google confirmation and statement
A Google spokesperson provided us with a statement and confirmation of the change following the initial publication of our story, and it has since been updated with the additional details and statement provided.
- Search Engine Roundtable