Twitter users who have not yet used the “Blue” subscription model will gradually have to accept losses. The network has now switched off the SMS transmission for secure login – this is a cost-cutting measure.
No stone has been left unturned on Twitter since Elon Musk usurped the social network at the end of last year. This applies above all to all areas that have to do with the finances of the company. Because Musk paid a record-breaking $44 billion for the company – and now has to save up the balance sheets. Twitter is supposed to generate part of the money with the revised “Twitter Blue” subscription model. In order for as many people as possible to pay for this every month, more and more functions are no longer available with free accounts. In the future, this will also include sending SMS for two-factor authentication.
Anyone who is currently logging into Twitter and is not one of the paying customers is greeted with a prompt. It states: “You must remove two-factor authentication via SMS. Only subscribers to ‘Twitter Blue’ can use the authentication method with SMS. […] In order not to lose access to Twitter, you must use the removed two-factor authentication by 03/19/2023.”
Misuse of the SMS function causes damage in the millions
In a statement, the company gives reasons that are said to have led to this decision. It states: “While the 2FA method has been very popular in the past, we have unfortunately seen it used – and abused – by malicious actors. As such, starting today, we will no longer allow accounts that opted for SMS Sign up using the 2FA method unless they are a Twitter Blue subscriber.”
Important: Twitter is not completely discontinuing the secure login method for free accounts, but instead requires the use of another method that is cheaper for the company, such as an app or security key. In practice, this only takes a few minutes and the switch is very easy.
While the company does not carry out the “abuse” in the company blog, the boss himself gives more information. Because behind the restriction of the SMS function is a saving measure. Accordingly, it was found that some network providers should have earned a golden nose on the short messages.
Musk comments: “The last time Twitter was paying providers around $60 million a year. It worked like this: the providers took advantage of the system and created an insane number of Twitter accounts in order to text each other over and over again and Twitter sent millions, no questions asked.” A total of 390 providers were found worldwide, of which more than ten percent of their SMS were due to fraudulent intentions, Musk explains.
Musk explained that they first approached the providers and even accepted 10 percent of “fake SMS” – some, including unknown companies from Russia – continued to generate more than 90 percent of SMS for profit – so the shutdown followed for most users.
Next free account restrictions in the works
In response, there is a lot of malice on Twitter – one user writes, for example: “Damn, you’re desperately looking for a monetization model, huh?”. Others fear further restrictions on features for free accounts, such as a lower letter limit for tweets.
Basically, the decision in this case is very understandable – and easier to digest than reducing the number of employees by thousands. But very few really want to believe the reasons given – they continue to suspect a perfidious tactic to drive up the number of subscribers for “Blue”.
In this regard, however, very different measures will soon follow: Musk has already announced that he wants to remove the previous “blue ticks”, which indicate verified accounts of celebrities, journalists or public figures. If you want to stand out from the crowd in the future, you can no longer avoid making a payment.