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Twitter Follower Hack Has Twitter Leaping to Fix, Tweeps Panic-Tweeting [Updated]

Want to force anyone on Twitter to follow you (yes, even the wondrous Mr. Fry)? There’s a hack for that, and it’s damned simple. The thing is, it looks like it’s kinda, sorta, maybe broken Twitter…and everyone has zero followers.

twape

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Want to force anyone on Twitter to follow you (yes, even the wondrous Mr. Fry)? There’s a hack for that, and it’s damned simple. The thing is, it looks like it’s kinda, sorta, maybe broken Twitter…and everyone has zero followers.

Gizmodo just had a piece demonstrating the hack, which they speculate may be a layover code from Twitter’s earlier days that’s still in action. It couldn’t be simpler: Visit Twitter.com, log in to your profile, click on “Find people” and in the search box type “accept xxxxxx” replacing the x’s with the username of your desired target. It may throw up an error message, but it seems to work very reliably.

The act has been quickly christened Twape on the Intertubes, meaning “Twitter rape” and it’s potentially incredibly important. So incredibly important, in fact, that the community is freaking out (while occasionally throwing out good jokes,) and not only because of Twape itself, but because it looks at first glance like it may have broken the entire Twitter system. But really this is probably a sign that Twitter may already be on the case–if you visit Twitter.com right now you’ll see your follower counts are at zero…though your feed will still connect to all the right Tweeps that you were originally following.

This, folks, is a living act to demonstrate exactly how powerful Twitter has become. For users who make the most of Twitter’s global reach to promote their wares, connect with customers or engage in dialog with clients and friends, the list of people following you is a jealously monitored and important thing (even while research repeatedly shows that it’s not how many people who follow you, but who is following you that counts.) Any notion that Twitter may somehow lose track of this data is frightening. Fingers crossed, hey, Tweeps?

Update: Twitter’s confirmed that it’s on the case, and that user’s follower counts will be returning to normal. A quick scan of the feeds shows that this is only true for a limited number of Tweeps for the mo, but we have confidence in the system.

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To keep up with this news follow me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter. That QR code on the left will even take your smartphone to my Twitter feed. And if you really liked this story, you can re-Tweet too.

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About the author

I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise. I've also got a PhD, and worked in such roles as professional scientist and theater technician...thankfully avoiding jobs like bodyguard and chicken shed-cleaner (bonus points if you get that reference!)

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