Twitter can be used as way of seeing the pulse of trends, it is also a great way to spread rumors and a hacking hoax. It is even better to begin the hoax on a holiday weekend when business sources can't be contacted to verify if something is true or not.
Case in point, there were a lot Tweets speculating why sales rankings disappeared for two high-profile gay-themed books then mysteriously hundreds of gay and lesbian books. Some Tweeted accusations of bigotry and bias. There was even a petition started to stop the censoring, while gay and lesbian groups protested to Amazon.
Then someone claimed to be hacker who accomplished the deed and explained how he did it on his free LiveJournal blog titled "Brutally Honest". He posted some bogus code that seemed to fool many except real honest developers. He has no real name just a screen name of ytseno laturb with picture of what looks like an alien.
It was the most Tweeted story on Sunday.
Rumors continued throughout the weekend until Amazon rep Drew Herdener finally admitted to the Seattlepi.com that :
This is an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error for a company that prides itself on offering complete selection.
It has been misreported that the issue was limited to Gay &
Lesbian themed titles - in fact, it impacted 57,310 books in a number
of broad categories such as Health, Mind & Body, Reproductive &
Sexual Medicine, and Erotica. This problem impacted books not just in
the United States but globally. It affected not just sales rank but
also had the effect of removing the books from Amazon's main product
Many books have now been fixed and we're in the process of fixing
the remainder as quickly as possible, and we intend to implement new
measures to make this kind of accident less likely to occur in the
A former Amazon worker Mike Daisey suggested this is what happened:
Daisey: Someone was editing the category systems inside of Amazon.fr,
made an error, and that system is global, so it propagated everywhere.
I have no insight as to anyone's nationality, or whether it was a
language gap, or anything of that nature.
One problem with Twitter is that when you read tweets you have no way of knowing if the Tweeter is a reputable source such as Wireless and Mobile News or just a hacking hoaxer..
Moore Twitter Stories from Wireless and Mobile News: