Recently, I was chatting with a friend about a problem they’d encountered after running my script to delete their old Twitter faves. (These are technically “likes” now, I know, but I will stubbornly call them faves, because it is the superior word.)
The problem was that, although the API reported a successful unfaving, many old faves were still attached to my friend’s profile. Here’s the strange part: when viewed, the tweets themselves showed hollow hearts, visibly unfaved… yet there they remained, a ghostly list, somehow both fave and not.
Even stranger—at this point it’s getting delicious—the tweets could be banished at last by refaving and then unfaving them; by power-cycling the little heart.
Cursory investigation revealed that this is a widespread problem. A search for “twitter phantom likes” will reveal many people describing the same behavior exactly, with no evidence of a solution anywhere. Twitter even released a fresh new API endpoint for managing faves—and still, the ghosts are beyond its reach.