What Happens When Twitter Spills Coffee on the Keyboard?


Last week Twitter sent out a particularly large batch of e-mails to users whose accounts have been compromised. The message informed account holders that they have to change their passwords before they can log into the social network.

As it turns out however most of the recipients, or at least a sizable portion of them, weren’t compromised at all.

According to a recent post on Twitter’s official blog the company apparently blotched it and sent the standard you’ve-been-hacked notification to “a larger number” of accounts that it intended. The full explanation can be found here:

“We’re committed to keeping Twitter a safe and open community. As part of that commitment, in instances when we believe an account may have been compromised, we reset the password and send an email letting the account owner know this has happened along with information about creating a new password. This is a routine part of our processes to protect our users.

In this case, we unintentionally reset passwords of a larger number of accounts, beyond those that we believed to have been compromised. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused.”

Specific numbers were not disclosed, but this incident may have just been the biggest privacy scare in the history of Twitter. That would be the second record that the social network broke this week, on the heels of the surge that followed Barack Obama’s re-election. The site reported a peak of 327,452 tweets per minute including Obama’s own, which became the most re-tweeted message in a matter of hours.