Twitter has made a small change in how it handles protected tweets in its search results.
The company tweeted the news that some protected tweets will now be visible in search results — but they’ll only be visible to the user who has the protected account, and to that user’s followers.
Prior to this change, no tweets from protected accounts showed up in Twitter’s search results. Even if a private account let you see its tweets, you couldn’t find those tweets in Twitter’s search results.
Of course, some accounts switch back and forth from private to public and vice versa. Here’s how that affects what tweets are visible in search results:
If you at one time had public Tweets, those Tweets will no longer be public or appear in public Twitter Search results; your Tweets will only be viewable and searchable for yourself and your approved followers. Unprotecting your Tweets will cause any previously protected Tweets to be made public.
That’s from Twitter’s help page about public and protected tweets.