Twitter : a bug discovered which allows users to sign up followers
May 11th, 2010 - 10:15 am ET by J. G.
A bug was corrected today which allowed bloggers to force other Twitter users to follow them without their consent.
A problem which can only be described as surprising affected the microblogging Twitter service. On Monday, a bug was discovered which allowed a user to force other users to follow them, Twitter explained. This means that a user could force others to subscribe to their account without asking their opinion. This was one way of adding a few famous users as followers of your site without asking their permission, with some bloggers using this to their advantage.
After having identified this problem, the solution caused a lot more problems. During the time that the issue was being resolved, the number of subscribers was reset to zero. Some users were therefore overcome by panic, believing that they had lost all of their audience. In the end, the problem caused some disruptions for a few hours, before the service was returned to normal in the evening.
It is fortunate that for this problem, no private updates were released publically. This was a serious point of concern, as the fault was actually rather simple to implement. To add a follower to your account without their agreement, you simply had to enter a tweet: accept [user name]. It is hoped that other "commands" with more dangerous consequences don’t also exist…
Like Facebook, faults discovered in Twitter are widely reported on the web. These services are considered as sensitive to private life as they reveal personal information. Twitter, which is based on the foundation of publishing messages that are 140 characters or less, has close to 105 million subscribers globally.