Buh-bye, original way of tweeting: Twitter said that for the most part, it’s turned off its Twitter via texting service.
Besides a few countries that rely on the feature, Twitter’s turned off its ability to take in our SMS messages and turn them into tweets. On Monday, it said on its support account that it’s killed SMS tweeting in order to keep our accounts safe, referring to SMS-enabled vulnerabilities for which it didn’t give any details.
We want to continue to help keep your account safe. We’ve seen vulnerabilities with SMS, so we’ve turned off our Twitter via SMS service, except for a few countries.
Everyone will still have access to important SMS messages needed to log in to and manage their accounts.
This isn’t a biggie for most of us, given that nowadays, the vast majority of Twitter’s users access the service via its mobile or online apps. And, as Twitter noted, you can still use SMS messages to do important things, like sending authentication codes needed to log in.
But “most of us” isn’t all of us.
One business, DansDeals, said in a post on Saturday that it’s been sending SMS alerts about new deals to its customers for more than 11 years. With Twitter’s abrupt move, it saw its follower count fall from 97,000 to below 89,000.
Over the weekend, Twitter apparently started sweeping out followers who signed up for DansDeals SMS alerts via the platform’s Fast Follow SMS service – a service that doesn’t require US users to have a Twitter account in order to receive tweets. Twitter rolled out Fast Follow nearly a decade ago.
Here’s part of Twitter’s (now-not-so-much) lauding of SMS messaging when it announced Fast Follow:
We’ve always been big fans of trusty SMS messaging. In fact, sending a text was originally the only way users could tweet. This is why Tweets are 140 characters — they need to fit into a text message.
Well, things change. This isn’t the first time that Twitter has seriously reconsidered its appreciation of “trusty” SMS messaging.
In August 2019, Jack Dorsey’s Twitter account got hijacked. A week later, Twitter temporarily yanked the ability to tweet via SMS – one of the possible ways that the account of its founder and CEO got taken over by racist/anti-semitic/bomb-hoaxing hijackers .
At the time, Twitter said that it was doing so due to vulnerabilities that mobile carriers need to address, and due to its reliance on having a linked phone number for two-factor authentication (2FA) – something it said that it was working to improve.
Besides security issues, killing off SMS-based texting is good for Twitter’s bottom line: namely, Twitter can’t show ads to people who tweet via SMS like it can within its online or mobile apps.
Latest Naked Security podcast
Click-and-drag on the soundwaves below to skip to any point in the podcast. You can also listen directly on Soundcloud.