LOS ANGELES, Feb. 18 (AP) Twitter users received an ultimatum from the social media app early Saturday: Subscribe to the platform’s new premium service or lose a popular account security feature .
A pop-up message warned users that unless they paid $8 a month to subscribe to Twitter Blue, they would lose the ability to securely access their accounts via SMS two-factor authentication.
Starting March 19, users who don’t subscribe will be locked out of their accounts until they remove the security feature, the message said.
Here are some questions and answers about why Twitter is making this change and alternative ways to protect your account:
What is two-factor authentication?
Two-factor authentication adds a second layer of security to password-protected accounts by having users enter an automatically generated code to log in.
This extra step helps protect online accounts because, in addition to your password, you need access to a separate app, device, or phone number where you can receive codes.
Such codes can be generated by applications such as Microsoft Authenticator or Google Authenticator. Or they can be sent to the user’s smartphone via text message.
This is SMS-based two-factor authorization, and Twitter is now limited to Twitter Blue subscribers.
Why is Twitter doing this?
In a blog post on Wednesday, the San Francisco-based company acknowledged that the SMS-based approach to security has historically been popular with users, but said the feature is being “used and abused by bad actors.”
Earlier Saturday, the company did not respond to an email requesting more details on how the security methods were being misused.
Elon Musk, who completed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter in October, has been trying to find ways to maximize the company’s profits.
One of these is Twitter Blue, which, among other features, allows anyone to pay for verification previously reserved for celebrities, journalists, and other high-profile personalities.
In its blog post, Twitter encourages users who don’t plan to subscribe to Twitter Blue to consider other account security options, particularly authentication apps or security keys.
These methods require you to actually have an authentication method and are a great way to keep your account secure.
What other options are there for protecting my Twitter account?
An authentication app or security key will also add a layer of account security beyond passwords.
A Security Key is a small, portable device that generates a set of random numbers that you enter when prompted to log in to your online account.
Authentication apps use the same method, but the app is on your phone instead of a separate physical device.
To set up an authentication app to protect your Twitter account, you need to download one of the many available apps to your device. They are free in the Apple or Android app store. If you don’t want to use Google or Microsoft Authenticator, there are other options, including Authy, Duo Mobile, and 1Password.
After installing the app, open the desktop version of Twitter and click the icon that says an ellipsis in a circle. There, you’ll find “Settings and Privacy,” then “Security and Account Access,” and finally “Security.” From here, you can select “Authentication App” and follow the instructions to set it up. If you have not already done so, Twitter will ask you to share your email address.
Once you’ve got everything in place, you can add an extra layer of security when logging into Twitter using a digital code that’s automatically generated by your authentication app. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)