Twitter is in chaos
Elon Musk, the new owner of the company, has decimated its workforce and gave all remaining employees this week an ultimatum: work hard and be extremely dedicated or go. Many chose the latter option and headed to the exit.
Already there are signs that the exodus may be stressing the system. Users reported problems receiving two-step verification texts. In the wild, test pages are appearing.
Some users complain about receiving spammers in their direct messages and on their feeds. Others complain about getting new replies to old tweets or seeing drafts of tweets disappear. The birding site continues to function well.
Twitter will not be shut down immediately. Security experts warn that bad actors could exploit the platform’s vulnerabilities to compromise user accounts.
Musk’s on-the-fly destruction of one of the most important online information systems is not something you can control, but there are steps you can take to protect your account if you aren’t ready to leave the nest in search of an alternative.
ENABLE MULTISTEP AUTHENTICATION
It is important to not only use your password and login to sign into Twitter. This makes it more difficult for hackers to gain access to your account.
Twitter offers three options for authentication: text message (or an app), and security keys (or both). Although there have been some issues with users not receiving their authentication messages, the authentication app is considered safer.
You will need to install one of the available apps on your device to do this. These apps are available for free in the Apple and Android app stores. Some examples include Google or Microsoft Authenticator and Authy.
After you’ve installed the app, open the desktop Twitter version and click the icon with ellipses within a circle. You’ll see “Settings” followed by “Security” and “Account access”. Finally, you will find “Security.” You can choose “Authentication app” from this menu and follow the steps to set it up. Twitter will ask for your email address to complete the process.
Once you’re done, you can add another layer of security to your Twitter account by using the numeric codes generated automatically by your authentication app.
THIRD-PARTY ACCESS MUST BE DISABLED
Jane Manchun Wong is an independent security and software researcher from Hong Kong and recommends that you cancel permissions to third-party apps and sites through your Twitter account.
Because if there’s a security issue with Twitter’s API (or Application Programming Interface), it will take longer to fix. There are fewer people on Twitter so third parties can access Twitter data to create apps that use Twitter.
This feature can be disabled by going to the “Security & account access” tool, then moving on to “Apps & sessions”. You will find all third-party apps connected to your Twitter account. This includes some that you may have linked years back.
DOWNLOAD YOUR ARCHIVE
The idea of losing 10 years or more of tweet history is not only for nostalgic reasons but also for research and digital hoarders. Don’t panic! Although it might take some time, you can still download your Twitter archive if you wish to keep it safe — just in case.
This tool, like other complex features, is only available on the desktop version of Twitter. It can be found under the “Your account” section. If you already have two-factor authentication enabled, you will need to reset your password and enter it again. You will receive a Twitter notification when your archive is available for download.
You will need to download the file on the desktop version. This normally takes around 24 hours but it can take longer. Some users reported that they had to attempt multiple times.
PRESERVE YOUR FOLLOWER’S LIBRARY
Although there is no replacement for Twitter, Twitter is still the best! Many users are signing up for Mastodon — a platform previously unknown that was launched in 2016 and is used by journalists, tech professionals, and academics.
Mastodon is a social network that’s decentralized. It’s not owned or controlled by any one company or billionaire. It’s actually made up of many servers that can be connected to each other so that people on different servers can communicate.
Signing up can be difficult. You will need to choose a server to join. However, regardless of which server you choose, communication with other servers is possible. This works in the same way as how you can email people using your Gmail account, even though they are on Outlook.
Once you are logged in, you will be able to go to fedifinder.glitch.me to find your Twitter followers or any Twitter lists to check if they have Mastodon accounts. Twitter users often list other social networks or content information in their bios.