Twitter drops 2fA, Meta joins subscription service party

21/02/2023 | The Guardian

Twitter has announced it is disabling two-factor authentication via SMS for non-Twitter Blue subscribers by 20 March. While the move will only affect 2.6% of active users, it is still a layer of protection being taken away. The reason behind the change, according to Twitter, is two-factor (see what we did there); a significant reason is the cost, with "bad actors" abusing the service to the tune of $60m a year. The other reason, as Twitter correctly point out, is that SMS-based authentication is not the best. It is still possible to use a third-party authenticator for 2fa, such as Google  Authenticator, which is the most well-known.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports Meta has also announced it is set to offer a subscription service similar to Twitter on both its Facebook and Instagram platforms. The paid option is likely aimed at influencers who make a living from the platforms, as the features only include additional impersonation protection, improved reach for posts, and access to customer support. 

Unfortunately, there is no ad-free tier, which would have the benefit of less profiling and corporate surveillance as well as increasing the number of friends' posts users see in their timelines. However, as The Guardian points out in a related article, traditional social media revenue streams are under pressure. Johnny Ryan, a senior fellow at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, says, “Advertising has paid for editorial content and other things for centuries... I do not see that changing. But the tracking-based ads that snoop on our every move are the historical anomaly, and they are on the way out.” 

In a related post, The Register highlights a number of user comments on hearing the Meta announcement, with one user saying, "So what it comes down to is this. Using this form of social media is going to cost you … I shouldn't have to pay for the usage of this, My feed is so full of advertisements. I barely can see posts by friends due to that." 

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