If you account was truly hacked, you probably can't even get into it because someone changed the password and the email associated with it.  But if your Twitter name is suddenly tweeting spam or sending DM messages to people you follow with links and messages like "Someone is talking smack about  you.. [link]," then your account has been compromised by some rogue Twitter application that was activated while you were surfing the web somewhere.  The app is allowed to connect to your account via Twitter's authorization system  and we have to fix it. Fast.

Here's the fix

  1. Go to Twitter.com > Settings > Applications 
    If you recognize something you've authorized only recently, and it's some minor app, this is probably your culprit. Just click "Revoke Access" next to it.   But if you have any doubts, revoke access to everything and anything you don't recognize or absolutely need.  It's easy enough to reauthorize each app as you need them.  Popular  applications like Tweetdeck will be safe so you can skip those. 
  2. Change your password immediately 
    In theory, Apps don't use your password, but since a rogue App is dishonest anyway, you have to assume it could have gotten your password somehow.
    Remember, good strong passwords are at least 8 characters with a mixture of characters, capitalization, numbers, and/or some symbols.  Don't use real, properly spelled words if you can help it.   Example:  HOrz-8a8-Fthrz.  Using a product like LastPass can keep your passwords for you in a safe manner. Google it. 


Don't be too quick to authorize an App. Ask yourself, "is this thingie-doodle really worthwhile, or just some stupid game or gimmick that really isn't worth the hassle if it's actually malware?"

But don't be too paranoid, either. Many Apps are fun and useful, and most of the time the compromising is just a mild annoyance, but not harmful enough to really worry about. Having someone receive DM spam is not like someone hacking your bank account.

I just hate being right sometimes… wait, no I don't.

I love Twitter. Let's be clear on that.  But we can be critical of the things we love.

The reviews are already coming fast on "Project Retweet," and they're not pretty.

After the brief status blurb from CNET below, jump to the entire Lance Ulanoff article linked below. My merry band of followers will note the very same arguments from him that I've been making since I heard about this preposterously dopey idea.

New Coke.. I mean Retweets are down right now, and while that's probably just a glitch, some already speculate that Twitter may already see the writing on the wall, and have already shot the rabid dog before it could bite them in the ass.  Chow down, Rover!

CNET's Webware

Twitter issues mulligan on new 'retweet' feature

It was a controversial new addition: Twitter had just started rolling out a new feature that built "retweets," a user-created way to quote other tweets, into the main Twitter application. But on Wednesday, plagued by errors, Twitter appears to have pulled the feature for further maintenance.

Lance Ulanoff, PCMagazine

Twitter Retweets: Thanks but No Thanks

Seriously? Are these guys not even aware of how their own service works? I'm not the only one who adds to RTs. It's an incredibly common practice, and I think it's what helps propel the never-ending Twitter conversation along.

Twitter Watch

Twitter's new retweet feature is the worst ever.

While current users may get used to the feature, it’s going to alienate new users. Twitter isn’t like Facebook; it can’t boast the same network effect that makes Facebook indispensable. So it needs to keep things simple for new users. But now each new user will need to understand why much of their early friend feed will consist of messages they didn’t subscribe to. To understand this, they’ll need to learn the meaning of a new symbol. I expect that in trying to understand it, many of them will end up accidentally retweeting messages they didn’t want to see in the first place.


New Retweets: be Afraid


The new Twitter retweet system has been unleashed, and it's a classic example of taking something that worked, and breaking it. Rather than simplify something most regular Twitter users understood and used rather creatively, they have now created a hybrid pastiche of behaviors where retweets will mean different things to different people, depending on how they were generated, and which client is in use when perusing them.

It's just nutty. I was contemptuous of this idea from the start, and early experience from most users suggests that I was right to be. It's an example of what happens when people who own a service believe that their narrow experiences represent everyone else's, and what they may or may not want. As I tweeted recently:

The two biggest lies in business are: "Our research shows.." and "Our customers say they want…"

The old method of retweet will still work, but you can be sure the Twitter clients will all handle it differently. But all in all, rather than improve the experience, they have simply made it very difficult to understand who sees what, and why.  Far from simplifying things for new, or casual users, they have greatly convoluted them. Even experts aren't quite sure what happens, let alone able to explain it easily.

I just don't have time to really explain all of this right now, so I will just list a few articles that try to explain what they have done, and let you figure it out. I will try and clarify my take with updates, so bookmark this for later reference 

If someone comes across a really solid explanation of how it all works, please Tweet or email me, and I will pass it on here.

If you have specific understandings of the behaviors (and you are certain about them), post as comments below. I will edit and include them in a more formal guide later.

Why Retweet works the way it does  — Twitter CEO, Ev Williams explains in a way that will the most make sense (as far as this sense goes) to social media geeks and people who enjoy reading self-serving corporate business case modeling repackaged in pseudo user-interest clothing.

Project Retweet: Why It Will Change Twitter for the Better —  Mashable's take on the new Retweet before it was released. I find this article to be sorely lacking, and a bit of PR puffery planted by Twitter in an attempt to justify something they wanted to do anyway, and got help explaining the rationale wherever they could.

Save the Retweet — Dan Zarella's excellent early effort to prevent this farce from ever happening in the first place. (Wasn't loading at press time, but probably will soon.).


The Reviews Roll In: New Retweet=#FAIL