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May 10th, 2010

Twitter Bug Allowed Users To Forcefully Add Followers

For less than an hour, a Twitter bug allowed users to force others into following them. As word of the hack spread, the panic grew increasingly high, escalating when Twitter temporarily reset everyone’s followers count to zero.

The trick was simple and involved nothing more than typing “accept account_name” into the status update box; however, the implications were far reaching. With newly gained admin-like powers, users aware of the bug turned their attention to celebrities, whose following lists became larger and larger by the minute.

One thing’s sure – mass hysteria ensued. Users unaware of the problem, which Twitter is currently trying to address, have gone crazy over all their followers suddenly disappearing. However, in an official statement, the company gives assurances that everything will be returned to normal.

“We identified and resolved a bug that permitted a user to ‘force’ other users to follow them. We’re now working to rollback all abuse of the bug that took place. Follower/following numbers are currently at 0; we’re aware and this too should shortly be resolved,” the Twitter staff announced via the status page. “Protected updates did not become public as a result of this bug,” they clarified in a later update.

Either way, it was shocking to see accounts like Ashton Kutcher’s, who had millions of followers, suddenly displaying none. The funny thing is that he was online and not aware of what was going on: “Twitter is being hacked by some turkish hacker. haha I have 0 followers,” he wrote in a status update, followed by another one that linked to an unrelated July 2009 Twitter notification about missing followers.

Credit: News

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