Updated: Does this Twitter bug force anyone to follow you?

Next Story

Ping Pong Battle: Because All iPad Games Should Involve Backflips

We’ve been tracking down some of Facebook’s little quirks and flaws lately. But let’s get back to an old favorite. Twitter, which appears to have sprung a leak as well.

Is there a bug in Twitter which literally forces any account to follow you?

The flaw appears when a user tweets this format: “accept [Twitter Username]”. So, for example “accept TechCrunch”. Magically that user appears as one of your followers. [Update: We’ve just been alerted that Twitter’s attempts to squash this exploit is reseting the accounts of anyone who tries this exploit to a follower count of zero. Hopefully they will sort it out soon].

This of course could be quite handy. Suddenly you could boast that some of the world’s most influential followers like Robert Scoble or Barack Obama was following you.

However, there may be a flaw in the flaw, as it were.

Web 2.0 blog Webrazzi has been testing the flaw. They started getting twitter to make inlfuentials follow a fake account, @bugrazzi.

However, when I tried seeing if I was literally following bugrazzi, the bugrazzi twitter profile itself still didn’t register that I was following it, even though I could see it was in my list of followers.

You try the hack and see if you can get it to work. Let us know what happened in the comments.

Update: Twitter has got back to us, saying “we’re on it”. Gizmodo says that this only worked in Twitter’s Web interface, not on third-party apps.

  • http://www.adriatalk.com adriatalk

    We have tried this hack, and the specified user is not following you, but your last tweet is tweeted again. :)

    • flip

      Actually this bug could be converted into a hack. I mean, BH will go crazy over this exploit. Hopefully twitter will put a patch on these bruises.

    • http://realestatekhoj.wordpress.com Vineet

      Twitter profiles now showing users with 0 followers and following 0 0- if you try to do the thing that is showed in the article above..


  • Phil

    It will be pretty amusing if there’s a way to launch a SQL Injection attack into their servers with a specifically formatted string.

    • lp

      Too bad they don’t use SQL anymore.

      • Zac Bowling

        They still use SQL. Twitter is still primarily SQL actually. All tweets are stored in both the old Mysql storage and the new Cassandra data store at the same time. They are ramping on who reads from Cassandra and who reads from MySQL/Memcache while they stress test Cassandra.

  • http://twitter.com/chadsmith Chad Smith

    Either TechCrunch is now following me or it works.

    • http://blog.gadodia.net Vaibhav

      I got @TechCrunch to follow me, and it even allowed me to send a DM to @TechCrunch – not sure if the DM was delivered though…

    • http://blog.gadodia.net Vaibhav

      WTF? Twitter just reset my followers and following to ZERO

  • inci sikkerr

    this bug was discovered by @borakrc and made public..so no credits to the guy and it is techcrunch who discovered that?
    check this

  • http://www.larovo.com Ulrich

    works for me :)

  • joe

    The whitehouse twitter account is following strange accounts now.

  • inci sikkerr

    the mentioned guy (@borakrc) who found this bug has followers including @tomhanks, @BarackObama , @billgates, @ladygaga, @mythbusters etc. so credits to him!!

  • http://twitter.com/dirkahlers dirk

    still works

  • http://twitter.com/ediciuz Ediciuz

    This is great (well, not really, but I’m sure you know what i mean). If only there was a way to do the opposite

    • joe

      Its called Blocking ;d

      • http://twitter.com/ediciuz Ediciuz

        I meant automatically follow someone else (who’s protected)

      • http://www.twitter.com/MacSmiley MacSmiley

        This bug allows you to “accept” someone who’s blocking you, thereby removing the block.

        I doubt it unlocks anyone’s protected tweets, though. Or does it?

  • cpnieuws

    This actually works! Why would Twitter put something like this in their code?

  • Joanne

    Oprah Winfrey is now following me. It works.

  • Stepshep

    Well, now @ConanOBrien is following almost 70 people so I’d say it works. Wonder how long until twitter disables it…hope they have a way to revert these changes.

  • SellWeek

    Yep, made Mashable follow me

  • http://twitter.com/ediciuz Ediciuz

    Twitters down now that everyone is doing it…

  • http://indiepoint.net Jesse Dorsey

    I wonder what twitter is going to do to accounts that take advantage of it in retaliation.

  • Kloc

    Well I’m loading myself up with celebs as we speak just to be funny if they delete my account oh well.

  • http://dipak.org.in/ Dipak Mishra

    It worked for me. I tested it twice and I could see myself in those two people’s follow list.

  • Noah

    It definitely works, and your tweets absolutely show up on their timeline. Just tested it out with two of my accounts!!

  • Kloc

    Lol in the case I just tweeted to a friend to look at my followers and all the people that shouldn’t be following me can now see that.

  • josh

    Works for me.

  • http://www.CrossLoop.com/WDMARKPC WDMARKPC

    TechCrunch now following me. Can you test “Unfollow” rather than Block please.

  • http://beaugil.es Beau Giles

    Working here – thanks for following @BeauGiles @Techcrunch. ;-)

    • http://twitter.com/chadsmith Chad Smith

      Thank you for following @chadsmith @BeauGiles :)

      • http://beaugil.es Beau Giles


  • sr

    built a bot, cycled through top 1,000 users. I am now being followed by oprah, techcrunch etc.

    The person who found this should have kept quite and done this themselves.

  • http://www.twitter.com/nknauth Neil Knauth

    Wil Wheaton is now following me.

    There’s one celebrity who I want to follow me, but… I’d feel guilty, y’know?

  • http://www.rukshan7.blogspot.com Rukshan7

    it really works, Bill gates and the NASA is following me now

    • http://twitter.com/ediciuz Ediciuz

      See if you can get the CIA to follow you lol

      • http://www.rukshan7.blogspot.com Rukshan7

        Ha ha,they stopped the problem before i can do that ;)

blog comments powered by Disqus