Twitter to charge users for SMS two-factor authentication
The social media platform will start charging users for text message account security.
Users who aren't Twitter Blue subscribers now have 30 days to join the program or run the risk of having their SMS two-factor authentication disabled. Platformer's Zoe Schiffer hinted at the new policy from Twitter and CEO Elon Musk in a tweet early on Friday afternoon.
According to a recently updated blog post on Twitter's website, the news is all but official now. Even though SMS is a common form of 2FA, the article acknowledges that it can be easily abused. As a result, the platform requires a $8 subscription (or $11 if you use an iOS device) in order to use its worst form of authentication.
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On the website, it is then advised to "consider using an authentication app or security key method instead" if you are not a Twitter Blue subscriber. That said, there are two options: do that or wait until March 20 when Twitter turns it off for you.
Effective March 20, 2023, only Twitter Blue subscribers will be able to use text messages as their two-factor authentication method. Other accounts can use an authentication app or security key for 2FA. Learn more here:https://t.co/wnT9Vuwh5n— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) February 18, 2023
SMS 2FA is one of the platform's most popular methods of authentication, but it is not required, as Twitter notes. Based on the platform's own transparency data, only 2.6 percent of users have 2FA enabled, and the vast majority (74 percent) rely on SMS authentication, according to Rachel Tobac on Twitter.
This Twitter 2FA change is nerve-racking because:— Rachel Tobac (@RachelTobac) February 18, 2023
1. Only ~2.6% of Twitter users have 2FA on at all (it’s essential for preventing easy account takeover)
Of those 2.6%, 74% use text message based 2FA (https://t.co/WXuFydZk17)
If they don’t pay for Blue they auto lose 2FA on 3/20. https://t.co/LneQojvjbi pic.twitter.com/PgySF3Qyag
One major factor in why a business might place SMS authentication behind a paywall is the expense of sending SMS messages, according to Sean Hollister of The Verge.
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Since the billionaire took over, it has been the plan to completely phase out SMS, and Twitter is in desperate need of cash. But it appears that Musk has at least for the time being found a way to make money from SMS.
Given that Twitter Blue subscription revenue is lower than anticipated, SMS authentication may be completely phased out for all users in the near future.