Twitter has disabled the tweet via SMS feature after it was used to hack the Twitter CEO’s Jack Dorsey’s account, whereby the hackers sent out racial slurs and other crude messages.
The feature was introduced in the platform’s early days when not many people had smart phones. However, it is nowadays more of a legacy feature as most people have acquired smartphones. Chief Kariuki from Nakuru, is one of the individuals who was able to use this feature to reach out to members of his community. This has earned him global recognition with the nickname “Tweeting Chief”.
The feature allows one to tweets by allowing one to send a text to a number and having the message posted on your handle. However, this can be compromised when a person’s phone number is stolen. This what happened to Jack whereby the hackers were able to access his number and post messages with his handle even though they were not logged into his account.
We’re temporarily turning off the ability to Tweet via SMS, or text message, to protect people’s accounts.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) September 4, 2019
Twitter indicated that they were making the changes so as to protect peoples accounts. At the same time, it blamed mobile carriers, saying they need to address vulnerabilities that allow this kind of misuse. Twitter also said it needed to improve its two-factor authentication system, which relies on text messages as well and could be compromised in the same way.