Less than an hour ago, Gizmodo posted a handy guide to forcing anyone on Twitter to follow you.
The method was very simple, and reportedly it worked on high profile accounts like Coco’s and Oprah’s. These were the five crucial steps:
1. Open the Twitter web interface (I haven’t been able to get it to work in the apps I’ve tried)
2. Tweet “accept username”, as in “accept oprah”
3. Wait a few seconds. You may get a server error, but that means it’s worked.
4. Check your followers list
Commenters reported that the hack worked, and that their accounts were currently being followed by big name tweeters. Further confirmation came from Jim Carrey:
To those who r thrilled about being able to make me follow them, congratulations,you get the Golden YAWN award, 4 valuable time wasted. ;^Q
It was fun for about five minutes, but it seems that this tiny security flaw (minor compared to Facebook letting everyone eavesdrop on your private chats) has caused a follower lockdown resulting in no one following anyone. If you look at your Twitter account right now, no one is following you and you are following no one. And while you still have a timeline of follower tweets, you’re still all zeroed out. We all have zero followers!
Update: Twitter just addressed the issue on their status blog:
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. Follower/following numbers are currently at 0; we’re aware and this too should shortly be resolved.
Update Two: Some tech blogs are reporting that the bug only affects those who tried to exploit it. Not true, everyone’s following/follower count has been zeroed out.