Turkish Student Bora Kirca Apologises for ‘Bringing Down Twitter’

A Turkish student, Bora Kirca, accused of hacking into Twitter has apologised for causing a “complication” to the microblogging site earlier this week.

Screenshot of a Twitter page. Credit: Erick Wong / Sfgate.com

Bora Kirca, the Turkish student, accused of hacking into Twitter programming and leaving users, including many celebrities, with ‘no followers, ‘ the Daily Telegraph reports.

The high school student, from the north Turkish city of Zonguldak, denied he was “hacker”, claiming he only stumbled across problems with the site and tried to pass on to Twitter administrators without success.

Bora Kirca denied he was a hacker despite causing a 'complication' to Twitter. Photo: Daily Telegraph

The bug, which was fixed late on Monday, hit millions worldwide and caused users to temporarily lose the list of people who followed them on the micro social networking site, according to NY Daily News.

It also allowed any Twitter user to force another to follow them without permission. Normally, the other person has to initiate such a “following”.

It hit countless number of high profile users and celebrities of the internet site including many celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, the talk show host, Justin Bieber, the Canadian teenage pop star, and Hollywood couple Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore.

Demi Moore even tweeted: “The turkish hacker is really doing on a number on twitter wow!”

Twitter’s efforts to close the hole briefly left a number of users with zero followers although the delivery of messages did not appear to have been affected.

Justin Bieber, the pop star, warned the hackers about annoying millions of teenage fans around the world. Photo: Flickr

Bora Kirca, who has an interest in computer programming, admitted to causing a “complication” to the site but denied he was a hacker. “Yes, I caused a complication on Twitter but I am not a hacker,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“I just found a bug and sent it to Twitter staff. I (had not) got a reply even after 14 hours I sent that mail, so I thought they didn’t care about this bug. I thought it wasn’t a big thing and wrote this bug on (the) internet, ” he continued.

He added: “Such an accident led to a big chaos and I didn’t want it to be happen. I want to apologise for all Twitter users, I didn’t intend do harm anyone. A site of this size but with such a bad and big bug, who could even know that it would happen?

“I was pretty sure that it’s impossible to give physical damage to Twitter with such a ridiculous bug like this. I am not a hacker and I did not cause of any damage. I’m not proud of that mess. I’m not a hacker, the hacker does not disclose the identity in this way already.”

Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore are one of the most prolific users of the social networking site. Photo: REUTERS

He said he was listening to a metal music band called Accept earlier in the month when he went to tried to follow the group on the site. He noticed later that they were “following me” and then published his discovery it on his internet blog.

“After 15 minutes, upon a warning from a friend of mine, Firat Turkoglu; I arranged (for) my message by excluding the part in which I explained how the bug is done and I sent a message to Twitter for correction of the situation,” he said.

“I explained (to) them exactly how I had done it, without any expectation. They did not show any interest and I have not received a single mail from Twitter yet.”

But Gizmodo, a popular technology blog which broke news of the bug, said the Turkish student “figured out accidentally that if you tweet ‘accept username,’ for example billgates, then Bill Gates will follow you”.

A spokesman for the San Francisco based company was unavailable for comment on whether they received an email from the student. After the glitch was discovered late on Monday, the company released a statement saying the bug has been fixed.

President Barack Obama is a known fan of the site. Photo: Reuters

He did not disclose how the bug worked. “We identified and resolved a bug that permitted a user to ‘force’ other users to follow them,” a spokesman said in a blog post. We’re now working to roll back all abuse of the bug that took place.”

Twitter, which allows users to update their followers with messages of 140 characters or less, said last month that it has topped 105 million registered users and is adding 300,000 new accounts a day.

Winfrey has 3.5 million followers and follows 426 people, Kutcher has 4.8 million followers and follows 732 people while Bieber has more than 2 million followers while he “follows” more than 61,000. US President Barack Obama is also a fan of Twitter with more than 3.9 million followers. [Gizmodo via Daily Telegraph (UK) and NY Daily News]

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