To non-Twitter Blue subscribers, those users now have 30 days to get on the Blue train or risk having their SMS two-factor authentication turned off. The new policy from Twitter and CEO Elon Musk was alluded to in a tweet by Platformer’s Zoe Schiffer early Friday afternoon.
The news is all but official now according to an updated blog post on Twitter’s website(Opens in a new tab). The post admits that while SMS is a popular form of 2FA, it can easily be abused. Thus, the platform is locking the privilege of using its worst form of authentication behind an $8 subscription (or $11 if you use an iOS device). The site then suggests that non-Twitter Blue subscribers “consider using an authentication app or security key method instead.” So it’s either that or wait until Twitter turns it off for you on March 20.
Elon Musk wanted more Elon Musk on Twitter so Twitter is now all Elon Musk
As Twitter points out, SMS 2FA is not required to log into the app, but it is one of the platform’s most used forms of authentication. According to Rachel Tobac on Twitter, based on the site’s own transparency data, only 2.6 percent of the platform’s users have 2FA, and the vast majority of them (74 percent) use SMS authentication.
One big reason a company might put SMS authentication behind a paywall, as The Verge’s Sean Hollister points out(Opens in a new tab), is that sending SMS messages costs money. Twitter is in desperate need of money, and it’s been the plan since the billionaire took over to phase out SMS entirely anyway(Opens in a new tab). But it seems, at least for now, Musk has found a way to at least monetize SMS. Considering that Twitter Blue subscriptions are making less than we thought, SMS authentication might be phased out entirely in the near future for all users.