The headbangin’ source of the Twitter exploit


This one just makes me smile.

The infamous Twitter exploit that made it possible to force people to follow you wasn’t the work of nefarious hackers in Russia or Eastern Europe, it was simply a metalhead speaking in Internet slang.

It started when a Turkish fan issued a blog post (here in Turkish. Google Translate does a reasonable job) on a strange bug he’d found on Twitter. He meant to write “accept pwnz,” a reference to the long-running German metal band Accept, and to his surprise, found that @pwnz was following him.

“pwns” has it origins in the game Warcraft, where a programmer misspelled “owned.” When the computer AI beat a player, it was supposed to say the player “has been owned.” Warcraft was a popular game even before the online version called World of Warcraft and “pwns/pwned” caught on like crazy, as witnessed by the Pwn2Own contest. In the context used by the metal fan, “pwnz” is just another way of saying “rules.”

The fan said he didn’t have any programming abilities and didn’t know what to do about it. One person commenting on the blog (also in Turkish) said he tried to contact Twitter employees but got no response.

Twitter has since fixed the bug. No word yet from the members or management of Accept, which is on tour in the U.S.

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