KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Twitter is threatening the possibility of locking the accounts of millions of users as soon as Monday.
If you’ve noticed a warning pop up on your account recently, you may not want to ignore it any longer.
What is changing?
Twitter began warning users that two-factor authentication using the popular the text message/SMS method would end March 20.
Two-factor authentication is the process that requires a user to take two steps to verify the account belongs to the person using it.
The first step asks for a user name and password. The most popular second step is a code texted to the phone associated with the account. It’s popular because it’s easy to copy and paste the code from the text message into Twitter.
Beginning last month Twitter no longer allowed new accounts to enroll in the text message/SMS method of two-factor authentication.
Why is it changing?
Users who pay the $8 monthly fee for Twitter Blue will still be able to use text messaging for two-factor authentication.
For everyone else, the reason why Twitter is making changes all comes down to money.
Elon Musk says phone companies scamming Twitter with two-factor authentication is costing the company $60 million a year.
What are my options?
The good news is that you do not have to pay $8 a month for Twitter Blue to use two-factor authentication.
You will need to download an authenticator app and link your Twitter account to it.
You have a lot of different options that are free to download, including 2FAS, Google Authenticator, Twilio Authy, and Microsoft Authenticator.
Make sure you research the apps to find your best option. PCMag.com reviewed the above options, if you’d like more information.
Another option is to use a security key.
What happens if I don’t do anything?
The warning from Twitter says users utilizing two-factor authentication and don’t disable it before March 20 may not have access to their accounts.
Twitter’s blog doesn’t mention locking accounts, but does say accounts with text message two-factor authentication still enabled on March 20 will have it disabled. Disabling text message two-factor authentication does not automatically disassociate your phone number from your Twitter account.
So, maybe nothing, or users may have to deal with Twitter to try to get accounts unlocked.