German Metal Band Sparks Twitter Catastrophe

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On Monday, tech blog Gizmodo's John Herrman reported a sneaky way that Twitter users could force anyone into following them. If you wanted Oprah to follow you on Twitter, for example, you could simply type the phrase "accept oprah" as a new Tweet, and sure enough Oprah would be listed as one of your followers. It seems that the bug, quickly remedied, was discovered by a Turkish Twitter user named Bora Kırca, who posted about it on his Turkish-language blog, a reader of which tipped off Gizmodo. Once the news spread, scores of Twitter users pried their way into Twitter feeds belonging to Conan O'Brian, Bill Gates, Ashton Kutcher, and everyone in between. Twitter scrambled to close the loophole, but in their rush temporarily caused everyone's following and follower counts to drop to zero.

But how did Kırca come to find the loophole? Like so many things in life, it all goes back to power chords, Flying-V guitars, and leather-clad Germans with big hair. That's right: the Twitter celebrity-following crisis all began with 1970s German heavy metal. It seems that when Kırca recently expressed his admiration of the German group Accept by Tweeting "Accept pwnz," he was surprised to see a Twitter user named "pwnz" immediately begin following him. Kırca pieced it together and the rest is history.

But there's a silver lining here. The 50-odd-years-old members of Accept, after an extended hiatus from rocking, are currently on reunion tour. The Awl's Maura Johnston gets suspicious, writing, "I smell shenanigans." Was the whole thing a ploy to publicize the rock gods behind such jams as "Balls To The Wall"? Probably not, but we will take any excuse to embed the song's awesomely retro video. Enjoy!

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.