Twitter zaps bug by wiping out followers

Twitter flushed a nasty bug from its system and in so doing zapped user followers creating a tweet-storm of concern.

Twitter users had a big shock on Monday when they checked into the micro-blogging service. Their follower and following numbers were at 0, meaning they were suddenly very unpopular or something was seriously wrong with the site.

It was the latter, of course. To kill a bug that allowed a user to force other users to follow him or her, Twitter temporarily reset all follower/following counts to zero, according to the Twitter Status blog. Everything was back to normal by 11 a.m. Pacific.

"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," the company said.

The glitch didn't cause protected (private) updates to become public, according to Twitter, which did not report the number of users impacted by the bug.

According to tech blog Gizmodo, the security hole allowed users to get any fellow Tweeter--even famous folk with "Verified Accounts"--to follow them.

Using Twitter's web interface, you could have tweeted "accept conanobrien" (that's Gizmodo's example, but any username would have worked), waited a few moments, and then checked your list of followers.

Voilà! Another fan of your clever 140-character observations. Well, that is, until Twitter killed the bug.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags social networkingtwitter

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?