Another one bites the dust: X is shutting down Circles

22 Sep 2023

Image: © Backcountry Media/

X is ending a feature that existed before Musk took over the company, as the site continues to move away from its blue-bird legacy.

X, the social media site owned by Elon Musk, is removing another feature that existed when the site used to be known as Twitter.

The social media site announced that it is “deprecating” Circles on 31 October, making it essentially unusable after this date. After that date, X said users will not be able to create new Circle posts, or add new people to their Circle.

Circle was made publicly available in August 2022 – before Musk took over the company – and bears similarities to Instagram’s Close Friends feature.

Circle was designed to let users share posts that are only visible by up to 150 people selected by the user, to facilitate a form of privacy. Accounts can also be added in or taken out of this group at any time, letting users pick who could see and engage with their content on a tweet-by-tweet basis.

Replies to Circle tweets are also private, even if the account is public. The social media site said the results of an early beta were “overwhelmingly positive”, leading to increased overall tweeting by users and a higher rate of engagement – such as likes and replies.

But the privacy of this feature was drawn into question earlier this year, when users reported that their Circle posts ended up on the timelines of other users.

Various examples were shared in April of users posting a private Circle post, only for those posts to be liked by accounts they don’t follow. One former Twitch engineer testing the issue shared screenshots of multiple accounts liking a private post he posted, despite those accounts not being in his Circle.

Earlier this year, X – when it was known as Twitter – suffered two global outages that caused various functions – including the timeline – to break down for users.

X did not specify why it is shutting down its Circles feature. But the decision marks another change for the social media site from what it used to be before Musk took over. The site has undergone significant changes in recent months, losing its iconic blue bird logo in July in favour of its single letter branding.

Musk also removed blue ticks from legacy verified accounts earlier this year, as part of a broader push to get users to pay for a subscription.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic