Twitter Resets Follower Count To Zero After 'Forced Follow' Bug Discovered (UPDATED)
share this story
UPDATED 2:02 PM ET: Twitter has started restoring users' follower counts. See how people reacted to the bug--and "zero follower" reset--below!
Freaking out because you suddenly have zero followers on Twitter? No, you're not unpopular.
Twitter temporarily reset users' follow count to zero and suspended the follow/unfollow feature in order to address a bug that allowed people to force anyone to follow them.
Gizmodo spilled details on the "Forced Follow" bug, explaining in explicit detail how a Twitterer "could force any Twitter user--from Oprah to Kutcher--to follow you."
Shortly afterward, Twitter confirmed the bug via its news feed (@Twitter) and on its official Twitter 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.
Twitter also noted that "protected updates did not become public as a result of this bug."
There was a tweet from Twitter at around 1PM ET notifying users, "Follow bug discovered, remedied."
Shortly after details on the auto-follow bug spread, users targeted celebrities on Twitter, like Lady GaGa (@LadyGaga) and Conan O'Brien (@ConanOBrien), to "force" them to follow their Tweets. As a screenshot from Mashable shows, the number of people followed by @ConanOBrien skyrocketed from just one to 194. Here's a glimpse of all the people that tried to exploit the bug to get Lady Gaga to follow them.
The tweets below highlight how some users reacted to the bug and Twitter's temporary fix. How did it affect you? Tell us in the comments section below! Check out HuffPost blogger Larry Magid's commentary on the bug then see the results of a recent study to find out whether Twitter followers really matter.