Monday, December 7, 2020

Making a Self-Quoting Tweet

Oisín Moran (via Hacker News):

Fundamentally the challenge is just correctly guessing what ID a given tweet is going to get, then appending that onto the URL for our profile and tweeting it.


Twitter used to use sequential IDs but no longer do. Public-facing sequential IDs have the drawback of making usage of your platform easy to estimate. They are also hard to generate in a distributed fashion while preserving order.


We see the second was posted 504 ms after the first (from Twitter’s point of view), the machine IDs differ by 13, and both the sequence numbers are 0. We might be able to get away with assuming the sequence number is most commonly 0. This is great news because it was the larger of the two non-timestamp components so greatly reduces the number of checks we’ll have to make. The range for our brute forcing looks like it might be small enough after all!


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