Twitter to Allow Only Blue Subscribers to Use Worst Form of Authentication
The social media platform will begin charging users to secure accounts via text message
Twitter announced on Friday that it will only allow paid Blue subscribers to use text messages as a two-factor authentication (2FA) method to secure their accounts.
The social media platform stated the changes will be effective March 20, 2023. For those not paying the monthly price tag ($8 a month on Android; $11 a month on iOS), non-subscribers with text message 2FA will have it disabled after the March deadline.
The explanation for the update, posted on the company’s product page, was brief: “While historically a popular form of 2FA, unfortunately we have seen phone-number based 2FA be used – and abused – by bad actors.” Twitter also stated that starting today, users would no longer be able to enroll in the SMS two-factor authentication method unless they were willing to sign up as a Blue subscriber.
For those seeking solace, the SMS method may have be one of the least secure forms of two-factor authentication as SIM hacking—”bad actors” gaining access to your account by stealing your phone number and pretending to be you—is common. Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey himself was once successfully hacked by the method in 2019.
The response online has ranged from nonplussed to dismissive, with one user noting that they “don’t think the site has had a single positive change” since Elon bought it for $44 billion and took control of the mega social media company.
While Twitter Blue also adds a blue checkmark to those signed up, the troubled subscription plan intended to pull the company out of financial peril hasn’t performed well, garnering only 180,000 subscribers after two months.
Earlier this week, Musk announced over video conference at the World Government Summit in Dubai that he is still planning to step down as Twitter’s CEO, and “guesses” he will find a replacement by the end of 2023. “I think I need to stabilize the organization and just make sure it’s in a financially healthy place in that the product roadmap is clearly laid out,” Musk said. “I’m guessing probably towards the end of the year would be good timing to find someone else to run the company. I think it should be in a stable position at the end of this year.”