Twitter left red-faced after ‘system error’ causes mass reset of user passwords

Receive an email from Twitter Monday night telling you your account may have been compromised in a security breach?

In that case, chances are you’ve been caught up in a company blunder, though you’ll still have to go and reset your password.

In a statement issued early Tuesday, the microblogging company said a mass password reset had been accidentally triggered by Twitter itself and was not the result of an actual security breach. It said the slip-up affected “less than one percent” of the service’s user base, though that could still mean up to a couple of million Twitter users were left temporarily locked out of their account.

“We unintentionally sent some password reset notices tonight due to a system error,” a spokesperson for the San Francisco-based service told Re/code. “We apologize to the affected users for the inconvenience.”

The email sent out by mistake told users their account “may have been compromised by a website or service not associated with Twitter,” adding that its security team had reset the password to prevent unauthorized access.

As you’d expect with an issue like this, Twitter users who received the email last night wasted no time in taking to their favorite social media site in a bid to get a handle on the situation or simply to let off steam.

“Whoever is trying to hack into my twitter account: 1) Im notified of this occurrence 2) STAHP 3) trust me, youll never guess the password,” wrote one. Another said, “LOL some turd tried to hack my Twitter. What on earth would that have solved? You want to read my spam DMs?#Turd #fail”

Just over a year ago, Twitter was caught up in a genuine security breach involving around a quarter of a million accounts, with hackers getting hold of an array of personal information that was thought to include usernames, email addresses and encrypted versions of passwords.

Get our Top Stories delivered to your inbox: