Is Someone Trying To Get My Twitter Account Banned?

Recently, Twitter wrote about a bug in their system that allows you to force people to follow you without their permission. Twitter said they have closed that security bleach but it seem there is another bug in their system. For the past few days, I have been receiving @replies in my twitter stream from users who claim I forced them to follow me.

The only explanation I can come up with is some hacker who doesn’t like me too much found a new vulnerability in Twitter and is using it to force people to follow me to get my Twitter account banned. The users who see they are suddenly following me will report me to Twitter or send me nasty @replies, or both. And really, I can’t blame them for doing that since I would be extremely upset if I’m forced to follow someone I don’t know.

If the goal of the attacker is to get Twitter to ban my account, he has come close to getting what he wants. I received this email from Twitter asking about the forced following.

I replied to Twitter with the same explanation in this post. I don’t know how this is happening or what/who maybe doing this. I don’t force people to follow me. I’m hoping that Twitter will see that I am a long standing Twitter user and conclude that this has to be the work of some outside party. The fact that Twitter sent me an email instead of just banning my account would seem to indicate they realize this is not normal. If my account was band new, I can see Twitter banning it immediately.

My apologies goes out to anyone who was forced to follow me and I’m hope Twitter closes this security bleach soon.


70 thoughts on “Is Someone Trying To Get My Twitter Account Banned?”

  1. Ball Valves says:

    Is this something Twitter was aware about, John? I’m not exactly sure what you mean by ‘force to follow’ you… Good thing I’m not really into twitter 😉

    1. Related with some hacking things my friend …

      Your reputation saved you John … otherwise a normal user’s account will get banned.

      1. You would think that his “reputation” would have merited the benefit of the doubt and he shouldn’t have even gotten an email to begin with…

        1. PPC Ian says:

          I agree! John deserves verified account status. Twitter wouldn’t be what it is without accounts like John’s.

          1. Wow that one is really great compliment … Ian

          2. I totally agree with this, if Kim Kardashian can get it for a sex tape John should be able to for his contribution………. unless he has a sex tape kickin around.

        2. SEO Results says:

          It just goes to show that the admin people at twitter aren’t paying too much attention to what is happening in the world around their industry! Now if it was a celebrity or movie star account things might have been different./

      2. Agree, I don’t think Twitter will ask us before closing our accounts. Big Bosses Rules.

  2. What about all of these software pieces on the net that allow you to follow and auto-follow pieces? I think that totally diminishes the purpose of Twitter. I think you provide some great quality content and that’s why people are following you. Just like John. Period.

    1. He have also auto followers website.

      But people go for auto followers to get more followers no one is forcing them to do so.

      1. SEO Results says:

        I still do think that the automated software may well be at the root of all of this pandemonium and mayhem. Just wait and see!

  3. Are you sure it’s not the followers for sale that you paid for? They could be exploiting bugs to give you the followers you asked for.

    1. Very good suggestion! John, I really would look into this! And forward the info to Twitter so that they can investigate it further. If it is the “buy followers” deal, then there should be a pattern visible which accounts force people to follow them, compared with which account admit in buying followers, SY

    2. John Chow says:

      Twitter has already confirmed it’s not that service. They are working to track up the bleach.

      1. d3so says:

        Is it bleach or breach?
        I wouldn’t mind having someone force follow my account 😉 just not to the point where it’ll get me banned.
        Hope everything resolves!

        1. common…bleach resolves everything….duh!!

      2. It does seem like quite the coincidence though. At least this experience has given that service the all clear from twitter themselves. I am intrigued to find out just exactly what has been causing this problem. Please keep us posted.

  4. That’s crazy John! I hope that doesn’t happen to me.

    1. until you have a follower base around Johns 50k I dont think you have anything to worry about.

  5. Nick says:

    That’s unbelievable. I hope that doesn’t ban you for this reason.

    1. Nope John got the benefit of doubt …

  6. jc_sucks says:

    none cares about your twitter account.. don’t glorify silly things…

    1. Wow, another troll, lovely, SY

    2. lol easy partner, if no one cared about his twitter account he wouldnt be getting paid 1000 a tweet and you wouldnt be reading this post. nuff said.

  7. Doug says:

    It sounds like this is the result of you ‘paying for twitter followers’ not too long ago. That’s what happens when you use a service without doing a background check.

    1. John stated a few comments above that Twitter itself out-ruled this possibility, SY

  8. Jonathan says:

    Why would I want to force anyone to follow me anyway? It’s that kind of like kidnapping someone to get a date?

    1. Well said .. impressive 🙂

    2. some of us have to kidnap people to get dates…. dont judge 😉

  9. Mmh! John forcing guyz to follow him on Twitter. You would only believe that if you don’t read JohnChow.com.

    1. It is not about believing or not, if people complain to Twitter about this, there will be a bug / exploit used by somebody to force people to follow somebody. I am sure it is not John himself, but still, somebody is compromising / abusing his account and that gets him in trouble. Changing your password for twitter would be the first thing I would do, plus checking all this “services that are allowed to post tweets on my behalf”, cancel everything you are not 100% sure of. If it would be your Paypal account, what would you do? Do the same with your Twitter account! Just my two cents, SY

  10. It just might be a bug in Twitter. Not sure if someone is trying to plot on John John!

  11. Tim Linden says:

    Yeah they are pretty quick to suspend your account if they think you aren’t following the rules, so an email sounds like they are trying to get ideas on why it’s happening.

  12. Mathew Day says:

    JV was going thru this same thing….weird.

    1. PPC Ian says:

      I was also reading about this on Jonathan Volk’s blog. John, you may want to contact JV to see how he is dealing with this issue. Wish you the best in getting it resolved, it’s really unfortunate.
      Best,
      Ian

      1. its about time someone contributed something that is actually useful to the comments in this post.

  13. Simon Croft says:

    I know if it had been a certain well known auction company it would have been ban first, ask questions later (if you actually managed to get hold of someone that is).

    At least Twitter has some sort of customer service.

    Good luck

    Simon

  14. Yeah, it keeps happening. I’ve blocked and reported you as spam several times and you keep turning up in my timeline. I’m changing my password, maybe that will solve the problem with whatever is doing this, but yeah – someone is out to get you.

    Just a quick look at your site and tweets though…you seem awful spammy.

  15. Some people have no lives.

  16. Robert says:

    I just cannot understand what these hackers get out of making other peoples life difficult, apart form making money off of inocent people, my wifes email account recently got hacked and to cut a long story short, they asked all her contacts for money as she had been mugged in New York and could not get home.

    So sad that some people can’t make an honest living.

    Be aware people.

  17. Thats good move that you added such issues in your blog in front of whole world at large.

    1. d3so says:

      I agree. I’ve never heard about Twitter exploits/security breaches openly.

  18. Addy Kho says:

    I have a twitter account too but hardly use it lately as i find it getting very spammy these days

    1. d3so says:

      Ive always found Twitter to be spammy.
      It’s all about who u follow. Don’t follow a bunch of marketers 😉

  19. fas says:

    What fame comes these drawbacks.

  20. How could someone do such a thing?

  21. hmmm…i think someone out there doesn’t like you much John 🙂

  22. Jacqueline says:

    I’m one of those people that you (directly or indirectly) force to follow you. Good that you wrote this post (although a direct answer to my question on Twitter would also have been appreciated). I’ve also written a post about it: http://laikaspoetnik.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/when-twitter-gets-creepy-people-who-force-you-to-autofollow/, because it is quite worrisome if a bunch of people (including you,  jonathanvolk and mrgathersuccess (!?) [all internet marketers] force me to follow them even after blocking. As a matter of fact I’m blocking you on a daily basis.

    My guess about the cause is that you used a service that yielded extra followers (like me). There must be leaks on two sides: yours (perhaps having allowed such a service to work) and mine (because I automatically follow you). Furthermore blocking doesn’t work, that  is also really odd.

    Perhaps good news: Jonathanvolk did some cleaning up (i.e. quit socialoomph) and made his account private. He is no longer following me (knock knock). We should work together to see where the leaks are, and find the service that is doing this.

  23. Santosh P says:

    Hey John you account is suspended now!!

    1. PPC Ian says:

      it truly is crazy! I hope John gets is back soon, Twitter should make it a priority for sure.

  24. Tom says:

    I realised I was following quite a few people I never actually decided to follow myself, I wonder if this was the reason.

  25. Allen says:

    i think your site is hacked by some one, when ever i will refresh this page a java popup box will opening and asking for user name and password which is following… ==> Authenitication Required a username and password are being requested by http://twitter.com. the site says: “Twitter API”

    1. John Chow says:

      No it hasn’t been hacked. That problem will be fixed in a little bit.

      1. Any updates on this? Your Twitter account seems still to be suspended … SY

      2. still waiting on updates John.

  26. Frenchy says:

    My twitter account was one of those that was forced to follow you. It was forced to follow Alvin Phang, Jonathan Volk and some other internet marketers as well. Hope this will be fixed soon./.

  27. pigeon forge says:

    there are always that kind of idiots who try to steal someone’s online info

  28. 😮 That’s crazy. Twitter seems to have a number of very open (but obscure) flaws like this. The first one was found out by some turkish hacker or something on accident. Like someone else said, good think I’m not too into twitter :p

    1. True indeed. I still remember when Obama’s account was hacked.

      I think it was some random teenager who used a simple script that generated password after password until he found the one for the account

  29. I see your Twitter account is suspended. That sucks.

    Same thing happened with Eric Rockefeller.

    Hope you get it back quickly John

  30. Allen says:

    i am so much worried about your twitter account & you have massive followers (56671) there, Previous problem is resolved about user name and password, i hope you will get back your twitter account soon.

  31. Warren says:

    Start up a backup account John, we’ll join you on both! 🙂
    Tell them you have 50,000 people willing to sign a petition to reinstate your twitter acct!
    Funny I get DM’s from people I don’t know telling to to buy this or that, and when I look at their account they’ve sent out 100 messages exactly the same. But Twitter leaves them alone.

    1. SEO Results says:

      Aha! Now that does sound like the type of solution I am interested in. Do another account, and write a post about it, and see how many of your fans and followers sign up for the second one, John. You got my vote.

  32. Finally I see your account is suspended in Twitter. I think this is sad part of Twitter.

  33. Joe Tech says:

    I can’t believe Twitter suspended your account. I hope it’s just temporary while they figure out what’s going on.

  34. Its really surprising to know that a huge site like twitter has such a bug. I think those who knew this bug has really exploited it to their benefit and play some pranks with people they hate.

  35. Hello, any update on this? We are interested and curious how this one figures out! SY

  36. Interesting. You also say bleach wherever I think you mean breach. Just sayin..

  37. Ary says:

    Like I said, that’s a down draw with twitter, you can easily get banned, without doing anything.

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