Over the past week, Twitter users in Israel have reported an amusing bug: Infinite likes.
The bug is related to the “like” (heart icon) button on Twitter’s Android app. Normally, this button has a binary state: like or unlike. However, this bug allows a user (and his or her followers) to accumulate likes, just by pressing the button again and again. We have no knowledge of the moment regarding the scope of the problem, but we can determine it doesn’t happen on a PC, for example.
For example, as you can see in this video, I was able to “boost” my likes on a year old reply, just by pressing and re-pressing the like button on the Android app again and again, getting them up to 500 likes and over. A follower of mine was able to do the same. Similar reports are floating around in the Israeli tweetosphere by other users.
Over the course of hours, the likes returned to their original number, but the action could still be repeated, artificially increasing the number of likes again – simply by pressing re-pressing the like button.
Only this week we witnessed a demonstration of Twitter’s influence on real life: Neera Tanden, Biden’s administration nominee for director of the Office of Management and Budget, was forced to pull her nomination for the role, due to snarky tweets in the past.
The after mentioned bug has a special implication on current affairs here in Israel, as the country faces its fourth general elections in two years. By my best judgement, the artificial likes created by the bug have real impact on Twitter’s algorithm regarding trending tweets. That allows a bad actor to create fake traction, and influence the public discourse in Twitter, and in real life, as Tanden’s case demonstrated.
We have reached Twitter for comment, and will update as soon as we get it.