Twitter users have reported difficulties accessing two-factor authentication on the social media platform, raising concerns about the possibility of individual and business users losing access to their account when they log out.
On Tuesday morning, new Twitter CEO Elon Musk declared the site will soon turn off “‘microservices’ bloatware” in the platform’s back end, a move he said will boost Twitter loading times.
The decision comes as Musk slashes staff levels and costs at the company, which the controversial entrepreneur now leads after a dramatic US$44 billion takeover.
Industry experts like Australian eSafety commissioner Julie Inman Grant fear gutting Twitter’s employee base could weaken the platform and compromise user safety.
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Shortly after Musk’s pledge to slash microservices from the Twitter platform, users started reporting issues accessing Twitter’s two-factor authentication system.
— Arya 🏳️⚧️ (@FairywrenTech) November 14, 2022
Anyone having trouble receiving 2FA SMS codes from Twitter?
I am not receiving any. Maybe another bloatware feature turned off? https://t.co/22qfcvbFzN
— @SamGuichelaar@mstdn.social (@SamGuichelaar) November 14, 2022
lmfao you also can’t turn off 2FA, so…if you have it on, you just can’t ever log out, i guess… pic.twitter.com/yvID6zAgxi
— 2fa microservice deleter (@mycoliza) November 14, 2022
Two-factor authentication, abbreviated as 2FA, requires users to verify their login details across two devices at once, making it harder for hackers to break into user accounts.
The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission lists 2FA as a useful step internet users can take to protect their identities online.
But should 2FA services fail, users could effectively become locked out of their own accounts when they log out of a social media platform.
Such a lock-out could pose harm to businesses, whose official accounts may become unusable without intervention from Twitter itself.
Twitter 2FA systems tested by SmartCompany remained operational as of Tuesday morning.
However, mounting fears over Musk’s hack-and-slash leadership and reports of buggy operations elsewhere on the platform have raised fears such a lock-out could take place.
Responding to claims the microservice responsible for 2FA code send-outs could be broken, New York Times tech reporter Mike Isaac said such a move would be “not insignificant”.
Ryan Broderick, author of influential tech and social media newsletter Garbage Day, also chimed in: “Making some backup codes, but if I get logged out, I may not be able to get back in.”
Isaac later stated the reported problem appeared to rest with SMS 2FA, and that users could again access the service.
The tumult follows Twitter’s on-again, off-again dalliance with verification labels on top of its existing ‘blue tick’ service.