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Duplicate Twitter Account With Same User Name

April 12, 2009 by debbie T | Twitter

I had a very bizarre situation with my account on Twitter tonight.

It looks like once the letter case of a user name has been changed, there is a window of opportunity for another account to be created with the original name and letter case.

Here are the details:

Originally, my Twitter user name was “debbiet” with all small letters. I thought it might be better to rename my account to “debbieT”, so I edited the user name setting.

I am paranoid and I wasn’t aware if Twitter was case sensitive or not; I needed to confirm that no one else could sign up with the account “debbiet”.

For kicks, I logged out, and signed up for a new account. To my surprise, it showed that “debbiet” was indeed available. Yikes! I panicked and finished signing up using a different email account.

I logged out of the new account, and then tried logging in with my username “debbieT” and I was shocked to see my profile was blank and was reverting to the new “debbiet” account I just opened. There were no tweets, followers, or follows. It was totally blank!

I checked Twhirl and it displayed my account as usual, with my followers, follows, and tweets.

So, I logged out, and tried searching on Twitter for debbiet, and the result displayed my original account, but when I clicked on the account link, it reverted to the blank “debbiet” profile.

I tried googling, and no one else seemed to have this problem.

I was in a panic. I was afraid if I tried fixing it, I would permanently damage my real account and lose everything.

Thankfully, I realized I could log in using my email address instead. That worked, I could see my original home page and my follows/followers, but as soon as I clicked on my profile link, it reverted to my empty “debbiet” account.


I tried posting a help message to Twitter, but I got a canned reply with a link to “missing tweets” – no use at all.

Then light dawned, and I thought, what if I changed the second account “debbiet” to a different user name. Yes! That worked! My “debbieT” account was back to normal. Phew!

What a nightmare!

Of course, this situation probably will never happen in real life. But even though it is highly unlikely for someone to rename their user name at the exact same time as a new user signing up, it does pose a risk. With millions of Twitter users, and more coming every day, I suppose nothing is impossible, especially with popular user names.

Before publishing this post, I decided to try to duplicate the problem using one of my other Twitter accounts “splashofstyle” (all lower case). Screen shots included below.

Original account, with all lower case:

Twitter duplicate user name

I renamed my user name to “SplashOfStyle” using upper case letters.

twitter duplicate user name

I immediately logged out, and tried to sign up with the same name “splashofstyle” using a different email address. The user name showed “ok” (available), so I completed the sign up.

twitter duplicate user name

I logged out of the 2nd account, and back into the 1st account, and lo and behold, my home page and profile pages seemed to be just fine. Hmm, curious.

So, I logged out, and back into the 2nd account (duplicate), and the problem hit the 2nd account this time, not my original 1st account. The 2nd account’s home page was okay, but the profile page reverted to my 1st account with my original tweets and follows.

After a few attempts logging in and out, now my 1st account was messed up with reverting to the 2nd account’s profile page.

Again, this will situation probably not happen in real life, but it might be something for Twitter to look into and possibly fix.

There are 4 comments

  1. this happened to me too – the whole duplicated twitter account! did you ever get your account issue resolved so you can get the debbieT user name?

    Comment by benedict on July 9th, 2009
  2. oh yeah, thanks benedict. It’s all good now!

    Comment by debbie T on July 9th, 2009
  3. Contrary to your opinion “Of course, this situation probably will never happen in real life”, this is actually something that may be of great concern.

    It is recommendable to have a username that is your own name or that of your company. If, for example, you have two or more Twitter accounts for tweeting in different languages, you don’t have much choice in selecting usernames if you want to follow that advice.

    In my case, that would be, for example, “kimmolinkama” and “KimmoLinkama”. It would be really a shock if one of those streams got lost.

    Comment by Kimmo Linkama on August 29th, 2009
  4. I think you misunderstood the post, Kimmo.

    It is in a rare circumstance that the problem would occur to anyone else. It only happened to me because my username was in some sort of transition period.

    You cannot have two names with different capitalization.

    Comment by debbie T on August 30th, 2009