Twitter has announced that SMS-based two-factor authentication (2FA) will be restricted to only Twitter Blue subscribers starting March 20. Two-factor authentication is an additional layer of security over passwords and requires two forms of identification to log in, with the platform asking for an authentication code sent over SMS on top of the password to log in. This ensures that the account remains secure even if the password is stolen. Twitter Blue is a subscription-based service that provides additional features such as an edit tweet button and a blue checkmark.
The reason behind Twitter’s decision to limit SMS-based 2FA to only Twitter Blue subscribers is that the company believes that the method is being abused by bad actors. In a blog post, the company stated that it would no longer allow “accounts to enroll in the text message/SMS method of 2FA unless they are Twitter Blue subscribers.”
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— Support (@Support) February 18, 2023
Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, replied ‘yup’ in response to a user’s tweet that the company was changing its policy “because Telcos Used Bot Accounts to Pump 2FA SMS,” and that the company was losing $60 million a year “on scam SMS.” However, it did not provide any further details regarding the issue.
While SMS authentication is being paywalled, two-factor authentication can still be used via an authentication app or a security key. The blog post encourages non-Twitter Blue subscribers to consider using an authentication app or security key method instead, as they require physical possession of the authentication method and are a great way to ensure account security.
This announcement comes at a time when advertisers are pulling back their spending following Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover of the company last year, with spending in December falling by 70%. In India, Twitter Blue is available for a monthly fee of Rs 650 on the web and Rs 900 on mobile devices and offers features like the blue checkmark and an edit tweet button.