Twitter Bug: Force People To Follow You

by Klaus on May 11, 2010

in Twitter

Shortly after Facebook’s privacy settings exploit (video) went around the world, a bug has also been found in another social media network; Twitter. While the Twitter bug is not as serious as the Facebook one, it’s still a bug that is related to one of the main features of Twitter – the follow/unfollow system.

Apparently, all it took was for you to write “[email protected][username]” and you would make that user follow you. The bug was only exploitable through Twitter’s web interface and not through 3rd party apps such as TweetDeck etc.

We’re focused on fixing it now (and) hope to know a lot more about the specifics once that’s done.

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. – Twitter

Now that this bug can no longer be exploited, I cannot force you to follow me on Twitter – so I hope that you’ll do it all by yourself 🙂 My Twitter feed can be found on @TechPatio – if you follow me, feel free to @mention me so I can follow you back.

Comments & Leave a Comment

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Christie May 12, 2010 at 03:31

WOW – so did you do some of these before Twitter discovered and fixed the bug? 🙂 I sure wish I’d known about it. I at least would have gotten old @aplusk to follow me for a minute or two.

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Klaus @ TechPatio May 12, 2010 at 09:36

Hehe, no, I didn’t use it – I wasn’t aware of the bug before it was made public. But even if I did know about it, I wouldn’t have forced people to follow me 😀

I did use TweetAdder to gain the 16k followers I have now, though – but that also doesn’t force anybody to follow you 🙂

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Walker May 12, 2010 at 12:16

Just a day ago, I read about facebook improving their privacy setting now it’s twitter. It might have been fun if I learned these things earlier. =)

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Zawad Iftikhar May 12, 2010 at 15:35

Wish I knew the bug would have easily made Miley Cyrus follow me for a while …. I mean seriously possibilities are endless.

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Vance Sova May 13, 2010 at 07:17

Hi Klaus,

It’s fascinating how many bugs come up in so many places. Tech stuff is like that I guess. Sometimes I wonder if the bugs just happen by accident or are created to be exploited. Most likely both things happen.

Technology does not exploit people but people are exploiting it and use it to exploit others.

I hope we can decrease the amount of times it happens.

Vance

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Klaus @ TechPatio May 16, 2010 at 22:35

Hi Vance. You know, I’ve heard it so many times that people believe that the antivirus software makers sometimes create viruses just to sell more antivirus software – and on one hand, it does make sense 🙂 But bugs to be exploited, like this, I’m not sure. Maybe to get them more media coverage, but they would have to be certain the downside isn’t bigger than the upside.

Thanks for your comment!
.-= Klaus @ TechPatio´s last blog ..Friday Flick Find: The Simpsons & Apple =-.

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Ching Ya May 13, 2010 at 14:00

Now that’s a huge spike of your Twitter following/followers! 🙂 Impressive.

It’s scary indeed. Someone was mentioning about the 0 followers but when I checked, everything seems back to normal so that’s good. It’s hard to define someone based on their Twitter stats nowadays, the only way is via the conversations and the value he/she provides to the stream. I’m sure your followers will enjoy heaps from your Techie updates. 🙂

See you around, Klaus.

@wchingya
Social/Blogging Tracker
.-= Ching Ya´s last blog ..5 Ways to Promote Your Facebook Fan Page on Personal Account =-.

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Klaus @ TechPatio May 16, 2010 at 22:36

Thanks for your comment Ching Ya, it’s good to see you again 😀

Yes I have been getting quite a lot of followers recently, but it’s not a secret how, as I have spilled the beans a few times already in some of my posts 😉

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Calking Chi May 13, 2010 at 16:21

For people to follow me? It is really a big bug!
.-= Calking Chi´s last blog ..Low Cost Individual Health Insurance Plan =-.

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Arafat Hossain Piyada May 14, 2010 at 04:52

Nothing wrong happen with my profile. That’s really good for me indeed. I hope we won’t see this scary bug next time.
.-= Arafat Hossain Piyada´s last blog ..Download Portal (Game) Free on Steam for both Windows & Mac =-.

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Karen May 15, 2010 at 21:39

The tweets that were whizzing around when it happened, so many people where in a state of frenzy that they had lost all their followers and that it was the end of the twitter world as they knew it … For crying out loud, some people were just taking it all to much to heart, in the end everyone got their numbers back after Twitter sorted it out!
.-= Karen´s last blog ..How To Write a Twitter Bio That Gains You More Followers =-.

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Klaus @ TechPatio May 16, 2010 at 22:37

I didn’t even notice that, I think I had an “offline day” maybe. But I could imagine how people must have been going crazy when seeing how their followers count went down to zero. Phew….

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Ryan Cowles May 16, 2010 at 06:49

Haha, that’s quite the bug. I’m surprised it took so long to gain notice! Although it might be funny to have some people follow you, I would rather have a lower amount of followers that generally would like to read what I have to say as opposed to a huge amount that could care less.
.-= Ryan Cowles´s last blog ..Hiking to Headstones – Granby and Simsbury, CT =-.

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Klaus @ TechPatio May 16, 2010 at 22:38

I wonder how it got out, actually. I’m sure some people might have been using it without anybody noticing, but maybe somebody found out and blogged about it – or reported it to Twitter.

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Ryan Cowles May 17, 2010 at 15:54

Come to think of it, there were a few people I didn’t recall following, haha!
.-= Ryan Cowles´s last blog ..Turkey Vultures Over Provin Mountain – Agawam, MA =-.

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chandan May 16, 2010 at 15:04

Once I have got mail from twitter to change my password, so I changed my password at once. From that time I do not get any scary message from twitter, my twitter profile is working normal.
.-= chandan´s last blog ..Important SEO analyzing factors for better search engine ranking =-.

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Klaus @ TechPatio May 16, 2010 at 22:38

That’s good. But when you get such e-mails, it’s important to open a browser and type in the URL yourself, instead of clicking on whatever links are in the mail as they might lead elsewhere.

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Jaypee May 17, 2010 at 19:05

Is this the same bug that Twitter fixed and caused many Twitter users follower numbers to zero?
.-= Jaypee´s last blog ..Matt Mullenweg: State of the Word 2010 =-.

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miley @ external hard drive September 9, 2010 at 04:49

Indeed it was… and I was a victim of that from no fault of my own

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[email protected] May 27, 2010 at 12:03

Now that was totally cool! I didn’t knew that but I must say that it wouldn’t be fair to somehow “force” people to follow you. No use in having a lot of followers but doesn’t care about my tweets.

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Marianna В May 29, 2010 at 19:32

Well, sometimes things like that happen to big companies. And there is no way to avoid this in the future however I am sure that because of this accident several people from Twitter QA department were fired for sure… In any ways I think that this bug is not the most horrible thing that could happen to these guys 🙂
.-= Marianna В´s last blog ..How to remove name from Google search =-.

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Jedidja January 20, 2011 at 14:38

I didn’t know about this one, but I wouldn’t have used it either. Following you on Twitter!

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Harry April 21, 2011 at 09:22

A new scam goes viral on Twitter.It is Unfollowed me scam application which includes a link with a message to check the list of users who unfollowed you.When you click on link it ask you to complete a survey.It never show the list of users who unfollowed you.Also it uses your account to send further messages to your followers.
Harry recently posted… Unfollowed Me Scam Application On Twitter

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