Twitter really wants you to stick to its 140-character limit, having removed the long-tweet Deck.ly feature from TweetDeck in September. No wonder developers scratched their heads when they saw this 930-character tweet from Anatoly [ @LeeA_09 ] in Almaty, Kazakhstan, dated Nov. 8.
Granted, the tweet itself is unreadable: sets of three numbers separated by backslashes. But the Russian-language message in the middle is a nice dig at Twitter: "Twitty and do not limit lyudiii !!!!!! 140 no limit" according to Google Translate.
LAUNCH has not found reports of similar hacks.
Mehper C. Palavuzlar from Istanbul posted the tweet to Stack Exchange's web applications Q&A earlier today and asked the community how it could be possible.
The best answer (so far) appears to be from mark4o, who says the numbers translate to these Unicode fonts:
Here's how mark4o explains it:
"The message contains Unicode surrogate code points that are improperly encoded as UTF-8. This kind of improper encoding is also called CESU-8. It appears that some Twitter interfaces will accept the CESU-8 encoded surrogate code points as characters (for the purpose of the 140 character limit), but for display purposes it expects valid UTF-8 and these are not valid UTF-8 sequences. So it instead displays the 3 bytes of each of these sequences as 3 C-style octal escape sequences of 4 characters each, and each surrogate code point ends up being displayed using 12 characters."
We have asked Twitter to comment on the long tweet and whether Anatoly will be suspended from Twitter, and we have reached out to Anatoly. We will update if we hear back from either.
So who is Anatoly? He says on his Twitter page that he's a "simple man" [ the only thing written in English ] and "Write to the DM, always on connection."
According to the blog he maintains on YourVision, a Kazakh blog platform, he appears to be a manager working in sales and customer service for an unnamed company. The communities he belongs to range from mobile communications to jazz & blues to nude photos.
Almaty is the commercial center of Kazakhstan and the country's largest city. Located in the southern part of the country, near the border with Kyrgyzstan, Almaty was the capital until 1997.
Have you seen a similar tweet or managed to post one? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.