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Twitter Blames “Bad Actors” for New Text-Authentication Fee

22 February 2023
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Twitter Blames “Bad Actors” for New Text-Authentication Fee

Twitter is now charging users to receive two-factor authentication (2FA) text messages after claiming it was “scammed” into paying £50m in fees by phone companies last year.

Elon Musk announced in a tweet that 2FA would be a Twitter Blue subscription exclusive moving forward, which means users will have to pay around £8.40 per month for the privilege.

The move comes after Musk complained that “fake 2FA SMS messages” and “bad actors” cost the social media company millions of pounds annually.

Non-paying users will no longer be able to request a code via text to sign in to the platform, which could put the security of their accounts at risk.

However, they will be able to use an authentication app instead.

While Twitter will still generate revenue from users who want access to 2FA, Musk stated that apps are actually “much more secure than SMS”.

Despite Musk’s claims, security expert Rachel Tobac doesn’t believe the change is user-friendly and could be “nerve-racking” for less experienced account owners.

A report published by Twitter last year found three-quarters of users who have 2FA turned on use text messages to get codes, compared to a quarter for authentication apps.

Twitter’s decision to lock another feature behind a subscription follows Meta’s announcement that it will launch a verified account service later this week.

Mark Zuckerberg said paid-for blue ticks would improve security and authenticity on Facebook and Instagram.

Meta’s verification process, at $11.99 (£10), will cost slightly more than Twitter Blue when it goes live in Australia and New Zealand ahead of a broader rollout.

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