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Is Twitter being hacked?

July 19, 2008 @ 9:36am

On Thursday night I sent an update from my phone that said I was unpacking the car in Cape Cod where we are staying for our tenth anniversary.

I was offline all day yesterday spending time with my family. I sent no text messages and only one email. Today when I loaded up Twitter, this was my status:

REALLY FREAKING BUMMED BECAUSE I'M NOT AT THE DARK KNIGHT. =[

I never posted that to Twitter! I don't use all caps and my smileys are always winking, not an equals sign and a bracket like Gavin always makes. ;-) See?

Here are my theories as to what's going on:

  1. Someone guessed my Twitter password, deleted my previous message and posted this new one;
  2. Someone figured out a way to hack Twitter or their API, deleted my previous message and posted this new one;
  3. Twitter had a database error and swapped one of my tweets with someone else's.

If it's #1, then it only happened to me. I already changed my password. We'll see if it happens again.

If it's #2 or #3, then people who use Twitter are in trouble.

Even stranger: when I tried to get you all a link to my current status message, I get a "this page does not exist" error.

UPDATE: Here is the message I used to have:

In West Dennis, MA unloading our car. Ten great years of marriage complete. Will eat lots of seafood to celebrate.

It was safely preserved in the sidebar of my site because Crowd Fusion spiders my Twitter feed instead of having me just load it via JavaScript. That protects my site from hanging when there's a Twitter outage.

UPDATE 2: Twitter is having an outage right now...

UPDATE 3: The tweet that wasn't mine doesn't show up in my personal timeline. I searched for tweets with "West Dennis" in them and mine from the other night is lost (according to http://search.twitter.com/search?q=west+dennis), but one from my ComicMix editor Rick Marshall does show up. Wild that he was out here in the same town a month ago. What a small world.

So I did a search for some of the text from the message that was showing up as my current status (before I Twittered about Twitter being hacked — now it's gone from my stream, but I have a screen shot) and this search (http://search.twitter.com/search?q=freaking+bummed) finds that crazy line that I didn't write! It was a message by TaylorIsGreen.

Okay, I think I get what happened now. My account wasn't hacked. Twitter itself wasn't hacked. The Twitter system just had some kind of screw up. The tweet that it said was mine about The Dark Knight was here:

http://twitter.com/frankensite/statuses/861650927 (failbird says "That page doesn't exist!")

and the one I found by TaylorIsGreen is here:

http://twitter.com/TaylorIsGreen/statuses/861650927

Mystery solved! Since they both have the same ID, it just means that Twitter screwed up and lost my tweet from when we arrived for our vacation and started showing the wrong message as my latest one. That bad tweet never seemed to go out in my feed or it would have been on my site in the sidebar.

I'm not thrilled, but it could have been much worse. Even though I've had some laughs at their expense, I am rooting for the Twitter team and I might be the only techie dot com entrepreneur I know who isn't building a Twitter killer.

Newer: Crowd Fusion is funded

Older: Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and Joss Whedon on ComicMix