For several days, untold numbers of Twitter users have been getting push notifications whenever someone unfollows them.
To add insult to injury, the notifications say the user has “followed them back” when in fact the opposite is true.
“I unfollowed someone and it sent them a notification that I had followed them, which alerted them to the fact that I had actually unfollowed them,” said VICE staff writer Marie Solis. “Then they unfollowed me and the same thing happened, and then I got subtweeted by a person with more than 10,000 followers.”
Several people at VICE replicated the phenomenon, but the bug isn't affecting everyone. I saw nothing on my end, perhaps because I have notifications disabled for the app—push, email, and text. Another Motherboard editor failed to replicate the bug on desktop.
Depending on your settings, Twitter will send notifications whenever you get a new follower, like, or retweet. The social media app has never notified users when a mutual unfollows them, for obvious reasons: it would suck to get told that you're not worth it.
However, people are curious to know anyway, which is why there are third-party services that reveal when someone hits the unfollow button, such as Who Unfollowed Me which requires access to your Twitter data. But this month’s bug seems to be the first of its kind.
I did a Twitter search and noticed that people have been complaining about the glitch since early June. From what I could tell, it appears to have begun around June 11, but I was unable to confirm the exact date.
A spokesperson for Twitter described the issue as a bug, and said the company is working to fix it.
Until then, take a tip from me and…