Several people who read yesterday's post about Twitter storing their smartphone contact information for 18 months have reported trying the Twitter-recommended fix only to get an error message.

"I just attempted to do this and received the error 'Oops, we couldn't remove your contacts at this time'," jeffehobbs wrote in the comments for the post. "Oops? That seems pretty cheeky - and obnoxious - for a company that has lifted my contact data. 'We are very sorry' might be a better way to start that communication."

Indeed, when we tried to remove our contacts, we got the same error after the system warned us that doing so could make our "who to follow" matches less relevant. Twitter had said users who have already had their data uploaded to Twitter's servers could remove their contact databases using the "remove" link in the fine print of the import contacts page on Twitter's Web site, Penner said.

We've reached out to Twitter for comment and will update as soon as we hear back from them. Update: In an email, a Twitter spokesperson said the remove function should now be working properly. However, when we tried to remove contact info after receiving the email from Carolyn Penner, we got the same error message.

Twitter told the Los Angeles Times earlier this week that it is making changes to clarify policy for users of its app. The current policy does not clearly state that Twitter stores the email addresses and phone numbers from the address book of users who use the "Find Friends" feature on its mobile app for up to 18 months.

Update: "We do this so we can help users find their contacts on Twitter," Penner said. "If one of your contacts signs up for Twitter with one of those email addresses and chooses to be discoverable by the address, we can connect you two."

Last week Path made a similar disclosure, which was followed by changes by photo app Instagram to give users more privacy controls. And that led to a bit of discovery by smartphone users themselves that nothing is truly free.

Photo courtesy of ShutterStock.