SOCIAL NETWORK Twitter has sparked privacy concerns with the news that people can now search through every tweet published in the past eight years.
Twitter's new feature means that users can now search for every public tweet posted since the service launched in 2006.
Until now, Twitter has used a real-time index that holds and sifts through about a week's worth of recent tweets, putting an emphasis on recent content in the search results.
The company said in a blog post that it has always aimed to make every tweet searchable, which is now possible thanks to a new index that is more than 100 times larger than the previous one.
According to Twitter, the full search index now includes "roughly half a trillion documents" and "grows by several billion tweets a week".
Twitter engineer Yi Zhuang said that the improved and enlarged search required a lot of work.
"Since that first simple tweet over eight years ago, hundreds of billions of tweets have captured everyday human experiences and major historical events," he wrote.
"Our search engine excelled at surfacing breaking news and events in real time, and our search index infrastructure reflected this strong emphasis on 'recency'.
"But our long-standing goal has been to let people search through every tweet ever published. We [have] built a search service that efficiently indexes roughly half a trillion documents and serves queries with an average latency of under 100ms."
However, while the move is good news for those who want to relive hashtagged conversations and events - Twitter used #JapanEarthquake, #Election2012 and #ScotlandDecides as prime examples - it has also raised concerns about embarrassing and drunken tweets which are now available for all to see.
Twitter said that the change will roll out on desktop and mobile app versions of Twitter in the next few days. µ
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