Twitter Shuts Down its SMS Service Over Security Concerns, Millions Reportedly Impacted

Twitter said that Twitter via SMS service will continue in a few countries.

Twitter Shuts Down its SMS Service Over Security Concerns, Millions Reportedly Impacted

Twitter last year disabled their SMS service that allowed users to tweet via text messages

  • Twitter urged users to download the app to receive notifications
  • A report claims Twitter silently removed accounts created using SMS
  • Last year Twitter halted users' ability to send tweets via SMS

Twitter on Monday announced that the company has turned off the "Twitter via SMS service" in most countries. The decision was taken to keep users' Twitter "account safe," after the company found vulnerabilities with the SMS service. This means that users in many countries who still receive Twitter notifications and miscellaneous tweets via SMS will not be able to enjoy the service anymore. Twitter in its statement, however, did not clarify the kind of vulnerabilities present in the SMS service. Notably, Twitter last year also disabled their service that allowed users to tweet through text messages. Moreover, a report indicates the halting of Twitter via SMS service may have a large impact on several accounts.

The official Twitter handle also stated that users will continue to receive "important SMS messages" that are needed to manage their Twitter accounts. This includes account verification code and two-factor authentication numbers that users still receive via SMS. In another tweet, Twitter urged users who were using "Twitter via SMS" to download the official app to receive notifications on their smartphones.

To recall, Twitter in its early days allowed users to receive and send tweets through mobile text messages. The micro-blogging website also allowed users to create accounts via SMS service, however, these users did not directly engage with the platforms. This essentially means that users with SMS-accounts simply received or sent tweets via SMS. But over the years, many users opted to use Twitter's services via mobile, desktop apps, and the website. In other words, people who are still using Twitter services via SMS are majorly inactive.

Meanwhile, a report by Mashable claimed that Twitter has also removed millions of inactive accounts that were created using the SMS service. A Twitter spokesperson in a statement provided to Mashable said, "We are removing accounts that were created via SMS as we no longer support this technology and because these accounts have a high risk of becoming compromised." Furthermore, the spokesperson added due to this removal, few users may notice a dip in their "followers." The spokesperson also implied that the removal of these inactive accounts will ensure more active and authentic followers on users' Twitter profiles.

Although Twitter claims the decision was taken due to security purposes, a company that is still using Twitter via SMS service claimed that the decision by Twitter was taken without prior warning to users who rely on the old service. This was highlighted in a statement by a company, DansDeals that stated that it lost several followers who were still getting SMS alerts about new deals via the service. The report also accused the micro-blogging website of "cutting cost" by scrapping Twitter via SMS service.

Notably, Twitter last year in many countries halted users' ability to send tweets via SMS. The decision was taken days after the company CEO Jack Dorsey's account was hacked. At the time, Twitter had claimed that the decision was taken to protect "protect people's accounts."

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Further reading: Twitter, Twitter via SMS service
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