This Unicode Cause Particular Characters To Glitch Major Tech Platforms

You may have noticed on internet some odd characters which appear vertically overlay other text on a webpage. It may also sometimes break out the boundaries of a user interface. Actaully, this is Unicode that is causing this behavior. For example, the Twitter profile page of Bleeping Computer has started to appear glitch for some days.

In Bleeping Computer’s case, a certain Unicode character was causing this behavior. The Unicode is present in the display name of Hylejam, a security researcher. Several ‘magic’ Unicode characters cause this behavior when they are placed in a particular UI. They are impacting multiple areas of Twitter as well as Gmail website.

When Bleeping Computer asked Hylejam why he used these characters, he said that it all started after he came to know that a Telugu character broke Apple devices. He examined the behavior of the ‘జ్ఞ‌ా’ character with letters and numbers. He tried to understand the bug that caused the WhatsApp app to crash.

Previously, a text-rendering bug caused WhatsApp to crash. The ‘ە’ character caused several glitches which is an Arabic character identified by U+06D5. The Arabic language is written right-to-left, so cursor needs to be aligned while typing.

He also reported the bug to Twitter via HackerOne, but the platform dismissed the report as Hylejam could not provide a proof of concept. Hylejam was not able to entirely understand what exactly was causing the glitch. A Reddit user Loseshape posted how they could ‘reverse’ the characters of a conversation by putting a right-to-left override Unicode in their username on Google’s YouTube.

AntisocialWeeb, a Reddit user also shared a list of mysterious Unicode characters in the same thread. Mozilla also fixed a UI rendering bug back in the year 2015. The bug broke the color of emoji because of a Unicode character. It is challenging to keep track of what exactly causes a glitch as the set of Unicode is cast and continually expanding.

Various users on StackOverflow states that Unicode character space can accommodate more than 1.1 million characters and only 10% of this space has been used till now.

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