Summary Question: "If a user is 'private' on Twitter, why can I see
their followers on (IFF I log in) but not through the


For example, I went to and
can see all of her followers, despite the fact that she is "private"

(Note: I can see them on while logged in even when I am
fairly certain that she blocked me before going private.)

curl -D - -s -u user:pass

Results in:

HTTP/1.1 403 Forbidden
Status: 403 Forbidden
(irrelevant headers edited)

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  <error>You do not have permission to retrieve following status for
both specified users.</error>

PLEASE NOTE: I tried the same API access from another account I am
99.9999% sure she did NOT block, and it still gives me this
"permission error" so it does NOT appear to have anything to do with
whether or not this account is "blocked" and everything to do with the
fact that the account is marked "private"…

I don't understand why the API gives me less access to information
than the website.


ps: @just_me_hi appears to have gone private after I (and others)
called her out for plagiarism in violation of the Twitter TOS. You can
see the chain of events here:

Shining a light on users who plagiarize on Twitter

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