Twitter hacked: Twitter follower stats vanish during bug fix

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 By

A twitter logo, white field against a black background

Twitter hacked: fixing a bug that let Twitter users force people to follow them erased every user's Twitter follow stats Monday. Flickr photo.

“Twitter hacked” was the headline Monday as users saw their Twitter follower stats fall to zero. In a microsecond, every Twitter user from Ashton Kutcher to Average Joe lost their Twitter follow stats. But “Twitter hacked” was just another social media wildfire rumor. Twitter’s follow stats display was disabled by Twitter itself to fix a bug that allowed Twitter users to force others to be their Twitter followers. It’s the latest of many recent social media security issues. But when compared to Blippy exposing credit card numbers online and Facebook phishing scams, Twitter hacked could be worse.

Twitter follow bug exposed in Twitter hacked scandal

Part and parcel of Twitter being hacked rumor was that Twitter users were led to believe that Twitter was hacked after a Turkish blog exposed the Twitter follow bug and offered instructions on how to exploit it. Caroline Mccarthy at CNET reports that another blog jumped on board the same day loan of scandalous intel. Webrazzi forced the Twitter accounts of Twitter CEO Evan Williams and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to follow a dummy profile. The bug allowed Twitter members to add followers by tweeting “accept” followed by “@” and any registered Twitter user name.

Twitter followers fall to zero

After “Twitter hacked” headlines broke loose Monday, Twitter sent a notice on the company’s Twitter feed that everyone’s Twitter follower states were affected while the bug was being fixed. “Follow count display is set to zero and follow/unfollow is temporarily offline while we fix a bug,” Twitter tweeted at 1:02 p.m. eastern time. MSNBC reported that the follower lists were restored by 2:15 p.m.

Twitter hacked following Facebook phishing

The Twitter hacked story is hot on the heels of news about the latest Facebook phishing scam. According to pehub.com, a Facebook event invitation was sent to some of the over 2,300 friends of Jim Breyer, a venture capitalist who sits on Facebook’s board of directors. Breyer’s Facebook friends checking their E-mail Sunday morning saw a note asking “Would you like a Facebook phone number?” Users who entered their passwords in response to the spoof message from Breyer in turn had the whole thing sent to their friends lists, too.

Twitter followers beware Blippy

Twitter being hacked and Facebook phishing has sparked a debate that has social media users wondering just how secure their personal information is and what companies like Facebook and Twitter are doing with it. One of the most frightening social media security incidents adding to this debate is that of Blippy exposing credit card numbers online. Blippy invites users to use the social networking service to tell their friends about what they buy online. Those concerned about financial security should know that someone figured out how to find Blippy members’ credit card numbers on Google. A search returned 127 results that included full credit card numbers before Blippy fixed the flaw.

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