October 31, 2014

Twitter Accidentally Sends Out Thousands of Reset Notices

twitter reset notices

Twitter sent out thousands of reset notices this week and media sources report users may have had trouble accessing their accounts initially.

The problem was not hacking, however, the company insists.

Instead, it was simply a system error that caused Twitter to send the notices to thousands of users by accident. At the time, Twitter also said it had reset affected passwords for user protection.

In a portion of the initial email reprinted by Naked Security, the company warned:

“Twitter believes that your account may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter. We’ve reset your password to prevent others from accessing your account. You’ll need to create a new password for your Twitter account…”

Then, in a complete reversal, a Twitter spokesperson told The Next Web:

“We unintentionally sent some password reset notices tonight due to a system error. We apologize to the affected users for the inconvenience.”

Twitter users, including many small business owners, can at least breathe a sigh of relief.  It would seem that their personal and business data has not been compromised this time.

It isn’t the first time that Twitter has experienced a security breach potentially putting user data at risk.

And, of course, Twitter users, including those with legitimate business accounts, have also endured other problems. Take the rash of Twitter accounts banned in error for supposed spamming back in 2013.

If you use Twitter regularly for your business, these problems are just par for the course. But if you run an online business, you’ll also want to think about how such system hiccups make you feel.

Try to keep similar problems to a minimum for your users and customers and be sure to make up for mistakes when they happen.

Reset Photo via Shutterstock

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Shawn Hessinger - Editor


Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Editor for Small Business Trends. He is a journalist and social media networker with more than a decade of experience in the traditional newspaper business before moving to the digital world. He was the former community manager of BizSugar and the former community editor at AllAnalytics, a site dedicated to professionals in the business intelligence and analytics community.

8 Reactions

  1. Oh dear. Well, yes, on the up side, it wasn’t due to anything malicious. However, for it to happen at all is kinda like “hmm”. But then again, nothing and no-one’s perfect, so hey.

    • Hi Ebele,
      Yeah, I agree. I suppose with the number of users it’s surprising this doesn’t happen more often. Then again, people expect a great deal from social media these days. And people are concerned about online privacy. So any mention of possible security issues, even if non-existent, can resonate with users.

      • Hey Shawn…

        Now you’ve mentioned some users’ concerns around possible security issues, it’s made me wonder what hackers think about hiccups such as this and whether it encourages them to see big sites like Twitter as a walk in the park if they wanted to cause some mischief.

  2. I think it is not so much as to how it makes you feel…it is on how safe Twitter is as a social media environment. Social media is really indispensable in business. But if you are going to do it in an environment where your personal information is not safe along with your passwords, then it is better to not make an account to begin with.

    • Hi Aira,
      Very true. Learning a suspected breach is not real is great. Realizing that it is because of a systems error in the very software you hope is safe and with which you have entrusted your data? Not so great.

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