A Twitter Flaw Allows You To Like An Edited Tweet Multiple Times

A Twitter Flaw Allows You To Like An Edited Tweet Multiple Times

Twitter users can like different versions of an edited tweet, making it seem like a tweet has more likes than it actually does. Experts say the bug could be used to spread false information.

For $8 a month, Twitter offers its Blue subscribers a range of perks such as a verified checkmark, fewer ads and the ability to undo and edit tweets. A lesser known perk, thanks to a flaw in Twitter’s system, is that these edited tweets can rack up multiple likes from a single user, leading to deceptive total like counts.

“Anyone can game the system to make their post get more likes and go viral,” says Athul Jayaram, a cybersecurity researcher and the founder of AI-based cybersecurity platform SecurityInfinity who flagged the issue to Forbes.

The flaw, which Jayaram says has likely been in place since the edit feature first rolled out in October 2022, works like this: Twitter Blue subscribers can edit any tweet up to five times within 30 minutes of publishing it. A single user is then able to re-like a tweet every time it has been edited. This can lead to six likes per tweet from any single user, which is displayed cumulatively — potentially misleading users scrolling Twitter that a post has likes from more people than it really does.

This may be by design: Twitter’s guidelines say that an edited tweet will keep all engagement from its previous versions. And if users click on a tweet, they will be able to view the breakdown of likes on each past version of the tweet. But it is unclear whether the company intended to show multiple likes by the same user in the total like count. Twitter did not respond to a comment request.

The flaw may seem insignificant as it allows a user to like an edited tweet a limited number of times, but given Twitter’s scale and number of users that could manipulate edited tweets, the impact can be concerning. It could be potentially used to spread misinformation and false narratives, says Rachel Tobac, an ethical hacker and CEO of social engineering firm SocialProof Security.

“The bug can cause spam-like behaviors and misinformation signal boosting,” Tobac says. “If this bug persists, we could see bad actors accumulating fake likes on misinformation tweets, which could further trick everyday folks into believing misleading or false statements are more popular than they actually are.”


The edit button itself has long been a hotly debated feature. While some users see value in being able to fix typos after publishing a tweet rather than having to delete it, others have warned about the edit tweet feature being misused to dramatically change the meaning of a tweet after it has gained traction. And with users being able to like edited tweets multiple times, it could make total like counts a misleading indicator of a tweet’s popularity and give it more visibility.

“Under Elon Musk, [employees] don’t have as much time to refine the feature before they launch and now, they have to just launch it without much testing.”

Jane Manchun Wong, security researcher

After Elon Musk acquired and took over Twitter in late October, reports of bugs and glitches have skyrocketed and are taking longer to fix. Users have complained that videos are automatically muted when you like them or that a video will stop but the audio will continue to play. Some bugs are specifically related to the edit button. Users have pointed out that editing a tweet with a video turns the video to an image. Some edited tweets have appeared at the top of users’ feeds. More recently, users faced an outage last week where they were unable to send direct messages, follow users or post tweets after receiving a notification that they had reached their tweet limit.

Jane Manchun Wong, a security researcher who uncovers social media features and bugs, says this particular flaw is a relatively easy fix, but bugs are taking longer to be fixed under Elon Musk’s leadership.

“Under Elon Musk, [employees] don’t have as much time to refine the feature before they launch and now, they have to just launch it without much testing,” Wong told Forbes.

These glitches come as pressure mounts on the 550 full-time software engineers left at Twitter after the company had mass layoffs at the end of 2022, according to a CNBC report. The company has shed 80% of its workforce since Elon Musk took over, and several engineers with deep institutional knowledge about Twitter’s codebase have departed the company. “There are not enough people to work on the app and so they have to prioritize which feature is more important,” Wong says.

Nir Eyal, a tech investor, says the multiple-likes bug, intentional or not, isn’t a good look for Twitter because it could run against Elon Musk’s promise to Twitter advertisers to prevent Twitter from becoming a “free-for-all hellscape.” “From the general product perspective, you don’t want these like hidden secret cheat codes in a product that’s based on trust and a public square format that Elon said he wants it to be,” Eyal says.


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