This past evening, I’m sure some of you may be aware, that Twitter went on the fritz. Randomly logging people into different accounts, including permissions. As you may have guessed, chaos ensued. But the real problem here isn’t necessarily identity theft or some other more serious problem, though you could say it was identity theft, just not based on bank accounts or other monetary sources, but reputation.
Given the anonymity, some people decided it would be a great time to use other peoples accounts to tweet some rather obscene things. I’m sure they chuckled. But the problem here is that those comments are tied to the identities and reputations of those people. Even worse, there are many people using Twitter as a piece in the puzzle of a more complex thing. For example, I use Twitter to run the asides section in my footer, a bit of a look into what I’m doing at a given moment.
Now, perhaps a potential freelance job was browsing my blog and began reading some of the things other people were tweeting and weren’t particularly savvy enough to understand the situation. I don’t think I need to explain that further.
To further complicate things, these people who are using Twitter for other applications and aren’t particularly tech savvy will have some trouble on their hands come tomorrow. Because of the way the Twitter plugin I use functions, for example, it keeps a record of my tweets in a table in the MySQL database. While I did regain control of my Twitter account and was able to delete the offensive tweets there, they were still stored in my database here.
Granted, I have enough knowledge to delete them from the database as well, but what about all the other people out there who haven’t the faintest clue? Those people make up the vast majority of a Twitter’s userbase, not people savvy enough to do all the necessary cleanup.
Just another example of why trusting data to third parties can be ugly. Anyone else effected by the anarchy tonight?