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Twitter turns off its original SMS service in most countries

by Tom Hanks
Twitter turns off its original SMS service in most countries

For the most part, you can no longer use Twitter because it was originally designed to be used: by SMS.

Last week, Twitter disabled the ability to receive text messages containing the text of new tweets. The functionality has been disabled in all but a few countries, which depend on the functionality.

This will not be a big problem for the vast majority of Twitter users who access the service through the app or the website. But there are already complaints from some people who were still using SMS to read tweets. A company, DansDeals, says it relied on functionality to alert readers to sales.

The change largely marks the end of an era for Twitter: when the service was launched, it was built around SMS. Its original 140 character limit was adapted to the size of the text messages, and you were supposed to send and receive new tweets entirely by SMS. This hasn’t been the main way to use Twitter for a long time, as more and more people buy smartphones and can use the mobile app.

Twitter disabled the ability to text tweets last September due to security concerns. The hackers had access to the phone number of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, in which case they were able to use the SMS function to tweet from his account. Twitter quickly turned off sending text tweets to everyone except “a few places”.

The latest update also aims to help “people keep their accounts safe,” according to a Twitter spokesperson. It’s not clear what the risk is when receiving tweets, rather than sending them, but Twitter has been interested in phasing out this feature for some time now. If people receive tweets by SMS, it cannot show them any ads. It would therefore be preferable for people to consult the application.

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“We have deactivated the rest of our Twitter via SMS, with the exception of a few countries that depend on it to use Twitter,” said a spokesperson for Twitter. Twitter will always send “important SMS messages” to secure accounts, such as authentication codes.

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