Do you remember when Twitter stopped limiting the number of usernames you could tag in a post and suddenly for a few days people started tagging dozens of users at once just to be annoying? Well, if people start duplicating this hack, it’ll make your timeline a hell of a lot worse than that.
On November 4th, Twitter user Timrasett sent out a tweet that was 35,000 characters long. Yes, while people are either clamouring to be included in the 280-character limit club or bemoaning Twitter’s choice to double the potential length of a tweet, it appears there’s a loophole that will allow you to ruin the flow of peoples’ timelines in a big way.
Timrasett worked with another user going by HackneyYT to break Twitter’s character limit with a message that begins “People! @Timrasett and @HackneyYT can exceed the character limit! You do not believe us? Here’s about 35k characters proof.” (Translated from German via Google.) After that, thousands of characters of seeming nonsense appear. At least part of the trick is that the nonsense is formatted as a URL. Partially through the long tweet, you’ll find the characters “.cc/tsyau...” and then it continues going with more randomness.
It’s not totally clear why this method got past Twitter’s automatic link shortening tools, but the tweet was treated just the same as if it were sending out a standard, reasonably-sized URL. Both users were briefly suspended and the tweet has been deleted. Thankfully, the Internet Archive picked it up—just in case the people from Guinness decide this might count as the longest tweet ever recorded.
Hey! Sorry for the crashes. We just wanted to show that Twitter is easy to crack.
— Timrasett (@Timrasett) November 5, 2017
We’ve reached out to both users to see if they want to reveal their trick, but for the moment, they’re shooting down inquiries on their respective timelines. We’ve also contacted Twitter for comment on the loophole and to ask if they’ve made changes to stop it from happening again. The company has yet to reply. When we simply tried tweeting the same message, it nowgoes slightly over the character limit. Take out a few characters and hit tweet and it gives you this me ssage, “Your Tweet was over 140 characters. You’ll have to be more clever.”