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Twitter shuts down Tweet to SMS feature in most countries

Last year, Twitter had disabled its compose message feature for SMS. This year, the tech giant has decided to completely do away with the feature.

twitter-logoYasmin Ahmed | April 28, 2020 | Updated 19:17 IST

Highlights

  • Twitter was built in 2010 keeping the SMS feature in mind since the Internet was not prevalent then.
  • Last year, Twitter disabled its compose feature in most countries after CEO Jack Dorsey’s account got hacked using the Tweet to SMS feature.
  • This year, Twitter is doing away with the feature altogether in most countries.

Twitter is planning to discard its Tweet to SMS feature, the tech giant announced yesterday citing vulnerabilities.

"We want to continue to help keep your account safe. We've seen vulnerabilities with SMS, so we've turned off our Twitter via SMS service, except for a few countries. Everyone will still have access to important SMS messages needed to log in to and manage their accounts," Twitter said in a statement.

Twitter was originally launched keeping in mind its 140 characters to be used via a text message or an SMS. This was because there was no extensive usage of the internet then as there is now.

Twitter turned off the ability to receive SMS messages containing the text of new tweets. The feature was disabled in a few countries,The Verge stated.

Twitter users who use the app via the internet are not likely to get impacted by the SMS feature being shut down. The ones likely to feel the difference are people who relied on SMS feature to reach out to the people.

When Twitter was built in 2010, it was entirely built around to work over the SMS, but then the age of the internet took over, and with people buying smartphones, they mostly run the app with the help of the internet.

Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey's account was hacked last year in September by a group called Chuckle Squad, Medianama reported. After hacking Dorsey's account, the hackers tweeted racial slurs, anti-semitic messages and a Holocaust denial from his account. Even though the account was recovered, Twitter's feature faced criticism.

Dorsey's account was compromised due to a security oversight by the mobile provider and sent tweets via SMS from the phone number.

Twittter acknowledged this incident temporarily disabled the ability to compose tweets via text citing security issues.

"We want to continue to help keep your account safe. We've seen vulnerabilities with SMS, so we've turned off our Twitter via SMS service, except for a few countries. Everyone will still have access to important SMS messages needed to log in to and manage their accounts," Twitter had stated when it disabled the compose message feature last year.

A spokesperson familiar with the matter told The Verge that the remainder of Tweet to SMS feature is being phased out in a few countries to keep people's accounts safe.

There will be an exception to a few countries who completely rely on Twitter. Twitter will send SMS to secure accounts for verification codes.

As of now, Twitter has not stated in which countries the feature would work but it seems that it is still active in India, reports stated.

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