They will send you an automated mail, offering to validate your phone number, or reply to the mail if your problem is not solved. Just reply to the mail.
Unfortunately, processing the request takes anywhere between 10 minutes and 2 weeks; usually a couple days at least. I assume this is on purpose to make it cumbersome for spammers.
They always reply with the same boilerplate, but the account will be unlocked:
Your account is now unlocked, and we’re sorry for the inconvenience.
Twitter has automated systems that find and remove automated spam accounts and it looks like your account got caught up in one of these spam groups by mistake. This sometimes happens when an account exhibits automated behavior in violation of the Twitter Rules (https://twitter.com/rules).
Again, we apologize for the inconvenience. Please do not respond to this email as replies will not be monitored.
Just give them a fake telephone number:
During some of the recent shows highlighting issues with payday lending these sorts of strategic delays were mentioned in the light that they can cause irregularly paid workers to have problems actually getting money out of their paycheck - forcing them into more borrowing until they are able to clear their checks.
Again, twitter is just silliness, but the banking example is a lot more serious of a case where the pros and cons need to be very carefully weighed.
Would you say the same about your phone number? If not, why? If I run my business on Twitter (or YouTube, or Facebook) is it that different from a bank?
I'm not clear on what the real point of this question is - twitter is a terrible platform to use for actual communication. Their sorting by "relevance" can cause recent messages to get lost in the shuffle and randomly mess with your visibility. It may be you're considering twitter as a business in which to coordinate product sales, but I'll assume it's for customer relations management, many companies that have a twitter account for CS stuff also offer email, messanger (of some sort) and phone if you have an issue you need to resolve due to the fact that platform just isn't well suited for business - the network effect of it is surprisingly low (a _lot_ of people aren't on or don't regularly use twitter), it is semi-public which may violate your business concerns and... you're handing the keys to your reputation to the third party that has acted poorly in the past.
If you check out youtubers talking about youtubers (I have no specific example on hand) they tend to complain endlessly about how the trending algorithms can drive thousands of potential viewers toward or away from their channel for no particular reason - there the network effect is strong enough that they don't have an option though, if your business is streaming a show then YouTube offers a much richer starting viewer base.
I guess my assumption is, if your business doesn't force you to use a particular social media platform exclusively then... use some other communication method per preference?
I'm really just confused by the question though - these things are not the same and twitter is simply not as important as the place your money lives (and I think pretty much everyone would agree? Maybe I'm getting too old)
Twitter seems to be a rage factory and amplifier, a shitty blogging format, and very occasionally a way to twist the arm of recalcitrant customer service.
The value proposition for me is receiving targeted news/information disseminated in a convenient format. As a concrete example, I'm crewing/pacing at a 100 mile trail run in two weeks, and I'm subscribed to that event's twitter feed. It's the Umstead 100 in case you are curious (@Umstead100). During the event, it will tweet out news and updates of interest to participants, volunteers, and others.
Yes, they could probably text everyone, or continuously update the website, or send emails - but Twitter is perfect for this situation and others like it: content/updates produces and consumed on mobile devices, sending frequent short updates with relevant info, etc.
Twitter has its abuses, but so does everything. Next time you're ready to shit all over Twitter, just remember that what you are likely ACTUALLY raging about is their userbase, i.e. the public.
> Yes, they could probably text everyone, or continuously update the website, or send emails - but Twitter is perfect for this situation and others like it: content/updates produces and consumed on mobile devices, sending frequent short updates with relevant info, etc.
Twitter is a poor choice for cases where you want to specifically subscribe to something, because it's deliberately designed as a global popularity contest/rage generator. A Facebook group, Discord, heck even Tumblr or Medium would be a better choice for that kind of use than Twitter.
> Twitter has its abuses, but so does everything. Next time you're ready to shit all over Twitter, just remember that what you are likely ACTUALLY raging about is their userbase, i.e. the public.
No, Twitter has a series of deliberate design decisions that result in worse interactions than any other platform. The limited message size strips away nuance and reasoned discussion, in favour of zingers and outrage. Their algorithmic feed shows the most "engaging" tweets while suppressing the follow-up discussion, so you'll see a controversial tweet without seeing the existing replies or subsequent retraction. The rage storms aren't just people being people, they're people being nudged into behaving a particular way by Twitter's optimized-for-engagement UI. There's a reason other platforms don't have these problems.
Speaking of design decisions, here's a bit  about how the "quote tweet" encourages the behavior of "dunking", a usage I have only ever heard in regards to Twitter. Basically, if anyone with a Twitter account says something you think is stupid, you quote tweet them and "dunk" on them about how stupid it is and they are. Then everybody piles in and retweets the "dunk", perhaps adding their own riposte. And the original poster is only a click away in the quote, so you can then go to their profile and find other things to dunk on, send mean DMs, etc.
Quoting people to negate or mock their argument has been around since Usenet - well, much longer in literary terms but I'm citing Usenet as an example of a system that's almost real-time and where it can be a spontaneous emotionally driven decision. It may not be called 'dunking' on every platform but the phenomenon is universal.
It may have occurred occasionally on other platforms, but the difference in degree is enormous enough that it's a de facto difference in kind.
(a) and (b) are some of the lowest of bars. Even ISIS passes those, along with tons of other things (deep fried Mars bars, for one).
The parent made a qualitative argument and/or value judgement. Mere existence doesn't negate it, arguments why his values are bad, or shouldn't be taken into account, might.
I disagree pretty strongly.
Twitter is much more important than the bank I keep my money in.
Banking in fungible. Twitter gives me access.
I've arranged meetings with the partners of the biggest VC fund in Australia sorely via Twitter. I've had in depth discussions of the details of ML models with their authors via Twitter.
Generally speaking I'm much more relaxed about a 2 day delay in my banking than a 2 day delay in Twitter.
Maybe I'm getting too old
I'm 43, so I doubt it's that.
"Banking in fungible."
You cannot instantly replace a bank account, transfer credit, or make changes without the help of the bank itself yet twitter can instantly be replaced by many forms of communication (SMS, Email, IRC, Talking, etc).
"I'm much more relaxed about a 2 day delay in my banking than a 2 day delay in Twitter."
So if your car is on empty and you stop to buy gas only to find that your checking and credit accounts (from the bank) have a 2 day delay, you would find that acceptable!?
The network and the way communication happens on those is not the same.
So if your car is on empty and you stop to buy gas only to find that your checking and credit accounts (from the bank) have a 2 day delay, you would find that acceptable!?
Please don't misquote me. The Generally speaking part is important here. Generally speaking, I don't let my car get to a situation where I'm on empty (I think I've been in that situation once in the last 20 years). And if the worst happened, it would suck but I'd ring a friend and it would be inconvenient but that's all.
OTOH, I've had multiple meetings in the last year where my only communication has been by Twitter and we've been arranging where to meet in the minutes before via it.
>If not, why?
Because a phone is a universal method of communication, for businesses, spouses, families, friends, and everything in between.
Twitter is yet another social media gossip discussion site, just one with a gimmick (limited characters).
>If I run my business on Twitter (or YouTube, or Facebook) is it that different from a bank?
The only businesses run on Twitter are ads, influencers, and PR -- and those deserve to die anyway.
Isn't that covered under "influencers"? What tangible benefit does Twitter provide to a working makeup artist (ie someone doing makeup for films/tv/photography/etc)? Sure, there are makeup artists that run businesses on Twitter, but their business is selling branded makeup and promoting sponsored products. That type of business is 100% reliant in social media, but aside from influencers are there any working professionals that would be unemployed without Twitter or Instagram?
It was one of the premier sources for propaganda during a certain country's recent election. It has been used to coordinate protests. It's been used to break national news. You can get minute-by-minute updates of events from it. Let's not pretend that one of the world's most-used communication platforms doesn't play a huge role in modern discourse.
To contrast though, if a service being a premier source of propaganda (avoiding the question of this specific case since... politics) and offers no other value, then it's actually worse than trivial it's harmful.
So, it's a mixed bag. I still wish there was a better engineered platform than twitter out there though.
It can be used to influence elections, to shape public opinion, to market products etc. Billions are at stake. It's real. It's not silliness.
It's not an inherently bad thing to do, but it's easy to overdo, and on a company that depends on network effects it can be very dangerous.
Time to spin up a Mastodon instance.
I signed up using a Tutanota e-mail. Every time I got a verification code and then entered it into twitter I got an "Oops, something went wrong." message. After spending many hours in vain trying to find Twitter's e-mail support, I gave up and initiated a "Trouble logging into my account" help procedure. However, that ultimately failed since surprise! Twitter couldn't find any history under that account name.
This is the form you have to use: https://help.twitter.com/forms/general?subtopic=suspended
I hate Twitter because:
- won't show full thread without loging in
- now requiring phone
I made my own VPN with Algo and host it on Digital Ocean. The IP is a Digital Ocean IP and therefore really hard to blacklist as a VPN. There is no way to tell if I am using a VPN and I regularly setup new accounts on Twitter (mostly shitpost accounts used for venting at products/companies that have wronged me), or novelty accounts that have a particular theme to them, etc
That's not even enough anymore. You also have to make sure that every one of your contacts do not upload their address book to conveniently find friends like you who may or may not be on the network. And that they don't tag you in images, events, etc.
You're an entry in the Facebook database, whether you have or have had an active profile or not.
...but that's such a myopic view of the problem. Facebook has this data. There's an entire market, intentionally kept from the public, that specifically deals in the selling and trading of profile data. This is why the concept of "shadow profiles" is important.
Let's say I have three friends who are on Facebook and I am not (which I'm not). Those three friends upload my contact details to Facebook and, from these three data points, Facebook can derive certain assumptions:
Sex from my name.
General age-range based on my friends.
General occupation (let's say all three are co-workers or previous co-workers)
General interests based on their interests.
So, now Facebook has an ad-targeting profile of me. All they need to do to get more information on me, regardless of I'm blocking their specific domains, is to purchase correlating ad-profiles on what I'll call the advertising market.
So, my credit card purchases, my Google search history, etc. can all be correlated back down into this one shadow profile that Facebook holds on me and this can, in turn, be used to target ads to my friends. Not only that, but if I ever do sign-up for Facebook, they can immediately start targeting ads to me. (read: I'm not a net-advertising loss for being a "new user".)
I'm not saying that you shouldn't block Facebook domains but I think that, in the overall scheme of things, it's tossing a drop of water onto a raging bush fire.
It is currently impossible to remain anonymous, regardless of whether you participate in the system or not.
In my case, given the density of my network on social media, and their propensity to fall for dark patterns that siphon private information - had I never owned a computer and lived off the grid, all the major tech companies would still know my: name, age, address, contact info, hometown, family members, income bracket, ethnicity, general dna (many family members did dna tests), and more.
Shouldn't I have a say in any of that? Shouldn't things like address book importing be restricted/illegal?
Why would any politician fight this? It's a platform they all use to gain/sustain popularity, and it's the official national communication channel for the US.
I don't _think_ Twitter or Facebook are doing backroom deals with every prepaid sim vendor to be able to tie that phone number back the the identity used to register the sim card.
I wouldn't suggest you use this to register your Dream Market vendor account, but I doubt you'll end up with targeted advertising based on your other real-world web/app behaviour based just on the ID provided for a single-use burner SIM...
You don't need to show any ID in Europe to buy non-contract phone number. You can go into most stores and get free or pay 1-5 euro for a phone number.
Even before that prepaid phones have been a strawman argument, actually maintaining a 2nd number in the long run is quite a bit of work since it usually expires if you don't use it enough.
For some platforms, even this is not an option. Case in point: LinkedIn (owned by Microsoft). I get "friend" suggestions about a friend that I know is not on LinkedIn. He's absolutely social-media averse, and would never be on LinkedIn (or FB, for that matter). But LinkedIn continues to claim that I can connect with him.
How did they get his email address? Because some third person (who emailed both of us) probably shared his contacts with LinkedIn.
Unless you are an EU-citizen.
It's far from clear exactly what information Twitter, in its longtime effort to combat spam, has already collected on its users. Throwing a phone number into the mix expands to range of activities that can be unambiguously tied to the same individual. Given that Twitter certainly knows IP addresses of its users, it's trivial to do things like link site visits directly to an individual answering the phone number.
Unfortunately, most people simply don't understand the implications of any of this. They don't understand what an entity, "authorized" or not can do with this kind of data. They are far too trusting of governments and other powerful entities to do the right thing. They have not been paying attention to the steady erosion of civil liberties around the world and can't conceive of, for example, ever ending up in prison for some lame post they made 10 years ago.
Good luck Twitter!
Unfortunately, this will not work.
Twilio numbers are not "mobile" numbers and cannot receive SMS from shortcodes.
So while your twilio number can send/receive SMS just fine, it can't receive SMS from a shortcode.
As of my recent conversations with multiple Twilio engineers at Signal 2018, there are no exceptions to this rule - once a number is owned by Twilio it ceases to be a "mobile" number and networks providing shortcodes cannot send SMS to it.
In my experience, all banks/twitters/facebooks/etc. use shortcodes to send their auths/2FA/etc.
So it won't work, I'm afraid. I have heard, however, that there are some smaller twilio competitors that provide true mobile numbers but I forget the name(s) of those providers and honestly, I would be worried that those numbers would get blacklisted or filtered in some other way.
There's a reason other carriers refuse to send shortcode SMS to "non mobile" numbers ...
No self-respecting provider out there, be it Twitter Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo, Instagram, etc. will deliver your confirmation info via a short code. so you need regular ported cell number like Verizon or Tmobile.
Twitter allows up to 5 accounts created on one cellphone number, given you give each other few days of rest and use popular VPN.
Twilio provides both regular phone numbers with SMS and MMS capability and short codes, the latter primarily for high-volume outbound messaging.
Your parent is correct - you've missed each others' points.
Twilio sourced numbers cannot receive SMS from other shortcodes. No exceptions. They are not "mobile" numbers.
So yes, your twilio sourced number can send and receive SMS and you can even rent a shortcode from twilio and send/receive with that. What you cannot do is get a "normal" twilio number and receive shortcode messages.
For that reason, providing a twilio number to a provider like twitter or facebook will not work - they all typically send their auth messages via shortcode.
We ported wireless numbers in and out all the time.
Said something unpleasant about someone ten years ago? Guess what, he's the sheriff now, and has money in the budget to buy social media data on his enemies, or the freedom to tap into any shared federal database he likes. Next thing you know, there's a speed trap at the end of your block and each member of your family gets pulled over each day for a vehicle inspection.
These sorts of things weren't unheard of before the internet. The abuse of big data just makes it easier now.
On the few accounts I've been required to use that require a phone number, I've given them one. It just happens to be one from a modem phone pool.
I'll worry about what problem that may cause when it becomes one. Usually, these are for stupid things required for some project or another and the need for them is time-limited. I will not use FB, and have a pile of Twitter accounts with no phone numbers attached if I ever have reason to care about that.
And at the rate we're destroying trust in the phone system with spam, I don't think anyone will expect pickups in a few more years.
Unfortunately, most people simply don't understand the implications of any of this.
Well, so you say.
I am soo tried of hearing this excuse for mass censorship
First of it MASSIVELY over used to the point where people call anyone that disagrees with them "a troll" or a bot.
Twitter is hurting their own brand by their obvious political bias and selective enforcement of rules largely dependent on outrage mobs to "report" rule violations.
Like real names policies before it, these types of "verification" scheme do little to curb actual abuse, and in many cases shuts out moderate voices
Twitter is already quickly heading off a cliff where 2 political extremes are left yelling past each other (not actually communicating or discussing anything), and this policy will do nothing to change that
//disclosure, I have never, and will never have a twitter account
Cause let me tell you, the number of accounts I've seen whose commentd get overrun with bots is not trivial at all.
* Random meaningless names like "lucy2342", "23markbeard"
* No profile picture or a very obviosly random picture
* Generic descriptions that dictate obvious political alignment like "Mother. Southwest USA, Republican, MAGA!"
* No original content in their timeline except for retweets of political articles from garbage content farms
* Really bad English grammar for whenever the bot requires human intervention.
They generally brigade tweets and have a complete lack of interests outside of this narrow activity.
It is not really enforced either, I know several people that have multiple accounts under fake names on Facebook
Like real names policies before it, these types of "verification" scheme do little to curb actual abuse, and in many cases shuts out moderate voices
Guess what, I just reported a guy with 106k followers that is inciting thousands of them to get ready for mass hangings of their political enemies "at a scale which will rock this world for 100 years" with gruesomely detailed threats against specific individuals. A self-professed adherent of the same conspiracy theory/cult committed a murder in New York just a week or two ago.
But I'm the bad guy in this scenario for saying that organizing murder might violate the Terms of Service.
You know full well that is not the type of reporting that I was talking about.
There are outrage mobs mass reporting people over jokes, things they find "offensive", and hurt feeling.
I don't care what you were talking about. I was clarifying what I had been talking about before you came along and attempted to change the subject.
The fact that I do not have a "right" to use twitter has no bearing on if Twitter engages in mass censorship of their platform, I did not claim that I have a right to use twitter, or that twitter did not have a right to censor it
Twitter can come out tomorrow and say only left identitarians are welcome on twitter, and everyone else would be banned. That would be be mass censorship AND with in their rights as a private company
Which sort of suggests to me that we're both wrong.
There is zero evidence they would be right biased
Nothing propagates faster than hate on Twitter and seeing as it's being actively weaponized to spread propaganda, I'm all for new measures that try slow the spread down - esp. given nothing else has worked thus far.
Of course there may be other ways for such a service to survive, but those are my initial thoughts about seeing something like this happen. I would love for something like this to exist, though
They should put Cheeto on the payroll, he's the only reason they're still relevant.
You can rent really mobile phones in China for 5cents or so, up to 20cents for EU and other countries which will probably have a better success rate.
It is not going to stop bots
I went to the help section and wrote a pissed off message to customer support...if they wanted my phone # they should have asked for it instead of accusing me. Shortly after, my account started working again.
For anyone else with this issue, try: https://help.twitter.com/forms/signin
> I had a new IP
> I had a newly installed operating system and browser.
> What exactly about my behavior is unusual?
It's not that this behavior is unusual (though, it is), it's that this behavior looks exactly like a bot. It's sad, but this is the state of the world now. If you're a big actor like Twitter, you end up blocking anything that looks like a bot, with an escape hatch a user can't do. Phone numbers are the an option for that, and it not doubt helps block other cases Twitter wants to block as well.
The escalating warfare will continue. I'm not sure where it'll go from here, but I'm sure it won't be fun for people that value privacy.
It's less understandable they'd lie to new users on the reasons their account was blocked. We can't expect even the smallest scraps of honesty from corporations anymore.
I am not sure people realize what a high percentage of users of "free" services are spam bots of some sort. Sit around in the average Twitch channel and you'll see a flood of spam from similarly-named accounts every so often. They get around the filters because Twitch tells you why you're filtered. "This room is in followers only mode", so they follow the stream they want to spam a few days/weeks in advance. "This word is not allowed by the spam filters", so they change one letter and continue spamming that word. Etc., etc.
It sucks for normal users caught up in spam filters, but it's an enormous problem that there is no easy solution to.
Facebook once required that you set up 2 factor authentication and they promised that the phone number won't be used for anything else. Few years later, they started spamming users at those phone numbers with notifications about what their friends did. And since this year, those numbers can be used to search for users on the platform.
The big issue with giving those platforms your data is that you hand over control. Even if they promise you something.
And someone really should go after them for it. Last month an abuser from a decade ago found me on facebook and messaged me out of nowhere. Upside is i was able to tell him off, but I know many other people would have a far more.. trying encounters.
I don't think this is lying at all.
They claim it's against bots, but no matter how well you identify traffic lights and fire hydrants, it won't let you through.
I know JS is probably better for this, since you can do all sorts of things like measure how the user types and scrolls and whatnot.
The page says either something about an error, or that I'm rate limited. A page refresh usually then works fine and displays the page.
Is this related to similar attempts to block bots/spammers? Or maybe just something wrong on my end?
Bone stock phone, nothing notable about it or the browser. Doesn't happen on my Windows or Linux desktops.
I too think it is done intentionally to get users to install the app. I can't think of a reason this is a simple bug. But the again... Hanlon's razor.
Chrome does not respect user privacy and is designed to not support add-ons as it will hurt Google's core advertising business.
Always regular mobile Safari.
Repeated enough to trigger the rate limited error.
I mostly only navigate to Twitter from here, so I didn't make that connection.
I don't know. Maybe they just don't like HN and this is a better way of saying it than a photo of a testicle.
We don't have a problem with bots, but users in the "not so tech savvy" segment tend to switch/discard/forget their email address. Rather than try to recover their account with us, this group will subsequently just create a new one, and then wonder & complain that their profiles/settings/content/histories aren't carried over. We fix them up after an identity check. It's both a support burden and a negative user experience.
Turns out that phone numbers, whilst also subject to flux, have better long-term congruence to identity, and thereby help us to detect account duplication and manage it.
People also make fewer errors in entering their phone number.
It irks me that public sentiment could be normalized against supplying a phone number due to abuse by the global-scale consumer surveillance utilities, because those of us running trustworthy businesses can use it to legitimately provide a better user experience.
Exactly why using verified phone numbers endangers a user's data. A phone number is much closer to a their true identity than an email address, exposing disparate system data to be cross-referenced by breaches and malicious actors.
For this very reason it's illegal in Australia to use a person's government uuid (Tax File Number) as a username.
I'm sure the unwashed masses don't care right now, but the recent kerfuffle over Facebook's sneaky 2FA switcheroo and other privacy sins shows that they might care after enough scandals.
I'm not sure this is actually true, at least in the long-term. Most people keep their phone number for a long time, but if they ever cancel their phone service, the number usually gets recycled and given to someone else (unlike an email, which almost never gets re-used). If you're storing any kind of sensitive data, and allowing people to access it as long as they can verify their phone number, it could end up being a pretty serious privacy risk. It could also stop people from signing up for your service - if I get a new phone number, and the previous owner of the number has already signed up, what am I supposed to do?
What service do you offer? Because I would never give a company where I wasn't paying for the service my phone number. How do you guarantee you won't misuse it or have ample protections in case of a breach?
The broader point is that collection of phone number isn't intrinsically a bad thing, it's rather the usage and trust level that matters. Judging by the parameters and caveats in your question, you have a similar perspective.
Phone numbers as usernames is intrinsically bad for user data security at the meta level. If a service requires a verified phone number to signup, it becomes a de-facto username.
Let's say a fetish dating site is partially breached, and the usernames are emails. Now your let's say your database is fullly breached, with the usernames as phone numbers and emails included. Guess what happens next with the intersection of those two datasets?
So a SaaS website requiring verified phone numbers seems benign on the surface. However if this becomes widespread then the overall identity landscape is compromised for the user.
At the system level: This is essentially the pseudonym-vs-realname debate. Twitter is the perfect example. Let's say I open an account to whisteblow on my government's nefarious activities. Now if there's a breach or state interception (eg China), they know exactly who I am and where to find me.
Back to the context of Twitter, this is mitigating the troll system problem by introducing a user identity one.
> The broader point is that collection of phone number isn't intrinsically a bad thing
It's intrinsically a bad thing because our general trust model is simply fragmented and thus poor. See my point above.
This overwrought paranoia and worst-case-scenario scaremongering just leads to bad customer service.
If you’re not a customer then I neither need nor want your contact details.
Did this sentence make anyone else really sad?
That isn't what I saw in the Verizon store today while I was disputing a charge on my bill ($10 trade-in on an account that never had a trade-in device at all?) Many people were changing their numbers.
To boot, I'm sure there are plenty of burner phones in use out there, I have six of my own with plenty of rollover minutes/texts.
You can start small: sign into Twitter every other month. IIRC, this will decrease the number of active users they report to investors.
I can't blame Twitter for adding friction to its sign up process because of others abusing the platform.
So I made a Twitter account, that I checked about once every two months, that followed the relevant players. I didn't make any tweets of my own and I didn't favorite or retweet anything. Just catching up on what people have been saying worked for my interests. Twitter banned me for Harassment. I had nothing that could have possibly offended anyone - I didn't even have a bio for my profile. I'd say the system assumed I was a robot? It was frustrating to me, because in order to appeal my ban, I had to provide my phone number. I don't want to give Twitter my phone number. I get the fewest spam calls of anyone I know, and I do that by protecting my phone number. Twitter has earned no trust from me, and is not getting my phone number. I tried to delete my account, but it needed my phone number to do that. I tried to sign out of the account so I could just see tweets as a guest, but it wanted my phone number for that too. Well, I signed out by deleting browser data, but there is still a tombstone on my email address in their database.
This experience has sown distrust with me about Twitter's harassment numbers. It's not that I don't think harassment is a real problem, it's that I think they are often self-serving in their actions and analysis, and for them to say they're doing something because of harassment isn't enough for me anymore. We can speculate all we want about what their reasons might be, but to be so trusting as to take their harassment claim at face value isn't something I'll do.
What are people like us supposed to do?
I do have a Google voice number, but I noticed one or two places recently that won't accept that anymore.
Mind sharing where? I've use my Google Voice number exclusively for 6 or 7 years now. Can't say I've ever ran into such a thing.
I've run into this semi-frequently over the years, and it's always extremely frustrating when it happens, but somehow I can't remember exactly where either.
Old references online point to Facebook, Line, and Snapchat:
It usually gives no specific information about why it failed, but then I use my main mobile number and it works fine.
Would love if someone made a list so those that have moved to VoIP wouldn’t need to waste time.
If you're careful enough it can also be reasonably anonymous.
The signup process has always been quite invasive for me. Is it possible get a phone in the states without handing over your SS, name, and DoB? I've never tried; what happens if you give bogus info?
I've certainly never had to hand over stuff like social security number (wtf?), but perhaps laws and/or telcos are different in U.S.
(I don't live in the US, but keep a T-mobile sim card active for when I travel there).
It won't be long before https://haveibeenpwned.com/ will let you type in your driver's license or passport number and tell you if a scan of it has been leaked.
One thing I'm sure of, uploading a scan of my passport to every website is not an appealing thought. Besides the inconvenience, do I really want my passport spread around on dozens/hundreds of different high-value servers run by who-knows-who?
Suppose WebAuthn was the standard authentication scheme everywhere. People used a series of tokens (Yubikeys, phone apps, etc.) with private keys which they use to authenticate to services. The government runs a department where you present them proof of your identity and the public keys from your Yubikeys/whatever, and they would publish a cryptographically signed electronic message which read the equivalent of "the owner of the private keys associated with public keys a, b, and c is a real person"). Then, when you signed up for an account at Twitter, or wherever, they could quickly check that published list and know that you where a real person.
Advantages, you own your own private keys and completely manage your online identity. The government doesn't have any control over where you log in, or who you sign up for accounts with. Also, you can remain anonymous to the site you sign up to. They can check that you're a real person and only signed up once, without actually knowing your real name or other details.
I think the main thing blocking this is its a huge pain to go through this system when the average person doesn't care that facebook and twitter have their phone number
The current system is a huge pain too...
I have 700+ accounts recorded in my password manager. Organizing, managing, occasionally changing passwords on important ones, etc. etc. takes a non-trivial amount of time and dedication!
And it's way way harder for many people who never got a system down, something I'm reminded of every time I visit my grandparents.. :-) Their main email account used to be an old ISP one that they'd payed for for years, and for whatever reason (I couldn't figure out why) it stopped working with some sites. Without that email account they lost access to a bank account, several credit card accounts, and some other stuff, and I ended up walking them through setting up a gmail account and calling in to change the email associated with all those accounts. Well, I used their landline phone to help set up the gmail account, and this year they moved, no longer have that phone number, and lost access to that account. I tried to help recover it, but wasn't successful. Guess what... they had to repeat the process for the bank and all those credit cards.
It might be possible to do something based on one of the centralized "digital cash" systems that cryptographers have developed. A typical system allows some central entity (e.g., a bank) to issue a "digital dollar".
The digital dollar can be transferred to a merchant in such a way that the merchant can turn it back in to the bank, and the bank (1) can recognize that it corresponds to one they issued, (2) can tell that it has not previously been turned in, and (3) gets no information whatsoever about who they originally issued it to.
So suppose some entity that people trusted revealing their identity to provided a service where you prove your identity to them, and they use a digital cash system to issue you a token. You can redeem that token at Twitter, which verifies it with the issuer, and if it is valid and not previously redeemed, lets you create an account with no further need for identification.
The token issuing entity does end up with a list of real identities of Twitter users, but has no way to match those to Twitter accounts. (Or rather, they have the identities of people who asked for Twitter account creation tokens...they have no way of knowing if a given person ever actually went ahead and created an account).
If your Twitter account gets banned and you want another one, you'll either have to try to go through the token issuer again, and they can see that a token was already issued using your real identity and refuse. You'll have to do something like get other people who don't have Twitter accounts to use their real identities to get tokens, and then give those to you.
That was just an off the cuff idea, to suggest some possibilities, and based on the capabilities of the earliest digital cash systems. I bet you could design a more sophisticated system where the token issuing entity works with multiple sites, and can't tell which site you are getting a token for, but can still limit you to one account per site.
Using identities for that is actually somewhat problematic because identity theft is generally pretty easy. The attacker compromises many devices, or a database containing the information of millions of people necessary to impersonate any of them to the token issuer. Then not only does the attacker get a large number of tokens, a large number of people also lose the ability to sign up for the service themselves. It also opens you up to deanonymization attacks if the token issuer and the site collude, or anyone else can compromise or coerce both of them at once.
But there are plenty of other alternatives.
You could ration them based on some other scarce thing, e.g. issue only X number of tokens per public IPv4 address or IPv6 /64 block per year.
You could exchange tokens for a security deposit. A few dollars for a token that can be used for over a decade is a minimal cost to a real user, but a few dollars for a token that lasts 90 seconds before getting banned is a real cost to the spammer.
And you can combine them. One free token per public IPv4 address per month, and if you need more then provide a security deposit.
The requirement obviously being the ability to make small anonymous payments.
I think it would be great for Twitter if they could get away from the advertising model. If holding a Twitter account required holding a share of Twitter stock, I wonder if users could end up owning the platform?
As such I'm doubtful this will change anything about peoples behavior.
It's also quite scary how nonchalant many people here are arguing for this to stop "propaganda" which these days seems to be as easily defined as "Anything that doesn't conform with a Western/US-centric narrative".
Because I have yet to see one of these "propaganda ban waves" be reasoned with anything but "Russia/Iranian/Chinese propaganda" like that's the only kind of "propaganda" that exists .
As such I consider these "propaganda bans" just another exercise in propaganda .
Chances are they'd want more than a phone number; probably a photo ID or something as well, else their value proposition isn't very strong.
I'm not sure if that's better for privacy and safety than many services asking for just a phone number (which I can generate a semi-throwaway Google Voice number for).
Well, then again, something awful was a paid forum iirc, and it was still a den of villainy.
And accepting a cryptocurrency would probably have little impact on all the lucrative scams that get spammed around Twitter.
I've grown suspicious with many accounts on Twitter. Maybe I can learn to trust more.
Previously, we didn't even require a full name. A few idiots always ruin it for everyone.
Bad attitude. They're not idiots, they're abusers. Ruining it for everyone else is a feature, not a bug, although if they have been using a platform successfully they may be sad about their scope for abuse being curtailed. Also, consider that punishing everyone because of the actions of a few is the overreaction of someone who isn't willing to understand the problem and just wants it to go away.
If you do, it'd be quickly adopted because no one likes adding unnecessary friction.
A very low-cost approach suitable for a small firm would be that if someone is abusing your platform, you expose their account history.
"Why do I need a driver's license? It's just bureaucracy and a revenue collection scam." Except, when you don't test drivers or provide a mechanism for taking bad drivers off the road, a few bad people spoil it for everyone.
And so on, and so forth. That is not a justification for any one thing like this, but the general principle is that when the bad actors make things toxic enough for the mainstream users, somebody has to step in, or a social platform quickly degrades until it becomes 4Chan, or Gab, or whatever.
Same reasoning behind moderation here on HN.
This is an atrocious analogy. The reason we require licenses for motor vehicles is that they are very dangerous pieces of machinery that can easily do fatal damage to car occupants and pedestrians, as well as property damage. Likening such a domain with that of communication and speech (what we're discussing here) is ridiculous.
Speech is not without consequence to society. If it was not dangerous to the lives and property of others, it wouldn’t matter so much.
I think the argument that speech is less dangerous than the right to drive a car is naïve and uninformed by both history and what we see in plain sight.
I mean seriously, can you look at white supremacist terrorisms radicalized online and tell me that speech has no consequences?
Of course it has consequences. If speech didn’t have consequences, it wouldn’t be worth defending.
But even if you refuse to accept that speech is dangerous, you must accept that it has consequences, that it can affect the experience of other people.
If it didn’t, there wouldn’t be a need to moderate speech on this very platform. Everyone could post anything they like. It would be more like... Maybe the right to park your car on a busy street during rush hour.
Nobody will slam into your car, but it will certainly affect their use of a common resource.
Unrestricted use of a common resource leads to a tragedy of the commons, and nobody ends up enjoying it except the vermin, who reduce each other’s enjoyment to the barest minimum.
We usually use default-deny only where the severity of bad behavior is very high. That's because it has a high cost for both most people and the test-issuers, and it has a very high cost to the few people caught as false positives. It is a very damaging mode for society. We are also migrating into only using default-deny on the internet, even on consequence-less contexts, and the previous paragraph still applies.
We may get a better world if we take some of the privacy away from the network level, we may even get to keep more of it overall.
Abusers, on the other hand, have to burn a phone number on each account that gets locked.
You are asking my phone number today and next day I will find it out in the open because of your and others' businesses don't give a .... when it comes to security.
And don't tell me that's only a minority or the exception. Because that's just simply not true.
500px, Quora, Facebook, Twitter, Equifax among others all have been hacked at one point or have been exposed as unreliable and untrustworthy. It's just simply not a logical proposition to trust any online platform with private and/or sensitive data.
Our problem is that criminals open hundreds of accounts with fake data and stolen credit card data, abuse our services until we get abuse complaints or detect it and lock them, then repeat that. This leads to legitimate customers suffering from bad IP reputation and is expensive to clean up.
Requiring phone numbers and blacklisting known throwaway providers has been extremely effectively in preventing this, without generating complaints from our legitimate customers. We don't want to use browser fingerprinting or other intrusive mechanisms for detecting sybil registrations.
What else do you suggest we do?
Much easier to keep people who emit thoughtcrime off of your platform if they have to keep getting new mobile numbers each time they are banned.
America's newspaper of record has a track record of being wrong during the onset of wars, parroting whatever Washington tells them is true, then eating crow much later and apologizing for. The most recent case was the aid truck fire in Venezuela, which it took them weeks to correct. You've also got WMDs in Iraq that never existed, and their parroting of the Nayirah testimony in 1990, only to admit two years later it was fraudulent.
I doubt their goal is to keep "right wingers" they ban off there platform.
That's a huge leap, and it sounds like requiring a phone number is a great way to increase the cost of spamming.
When they tell you it's not about the money... it's about the money.
When they tell you they want your phone number for anything other than making more money... it's about the money.
Edit: -4, huh? Really? Have people forgotten what Facebook just did?
Of course it's about the money.
I'm not the CFO at Twitter or anything, but even I can see that spam and propaganda cost those guys a lot of money. The number of advertisers who stop paying Twitter because of spam will be orders of magnitude larger than the number of advertisers who stop using Twitter because of phone numbers.
I thought you meant Twitter is trying to put the squeeze on the spammers and propaganda ministers because they will lose advertisers if they can't?
Did you mean something else?
They can avoid being victimized by spam and propaganda some other way... preferably some other way that I couldn't trivially defeat by giving them the number of a throwaway SIM card or a public phone booth.
Most actual humans have a phone number, and Twitter wants a semi-1:1 mapping between human and Twitter account. Spammers have hundreds. This seems like a reasonable way to greatly increase the cost of making accounts for spammers.
Disable the account temporarily when some (small) number of other users flags its posts as spam. If a user is discovered to be filing false spam reports, disable that account. Accounts without a history of posting legitimate tweets should be rate-limited in both their posting and reporting privileges.
Externalizing the costs of fighting spam and "propaganda" (whatever that is) by demanding irrelevant personal information from all users is not the answer... at least, it's not the answer to those particular questions. It's better to empower users to build the trust necessary to solve the problem themselves.
I'm not sure you're really hearing us.
The advertisers don't want their ads connected to spam or propaganda posts AT ALL. If Twitter actually shows the post, and then has ads along side it, it's too late. I mean it's great that someone bothers to flag that post as spam, but the advertiser's Twitter firehose processor is going to detect that pairing. Under your proposed regime the advertiser would be constantly detecting violations by spam users who were not being punished by Twitter. Under Twitter's proposed regime, the advertiser would report the first violation and the user, and his/her posts, would be gone. On top of that, there would be far fewer occurrences of such matches in the firehose data in the first place because accounts would be more difficult to create. Now add to all that the fact that the spammer would have to get a new burner phone to create a new account. That cost, coupled with the fact that each account could only pull off limited spamming means less profit for the spammer.
Put another way, the ROI of each new account tends toward zero under Twitter's model. Under your model, the ROI is bounded only by chance. That chance being the chance that enough people bother to mark the post as spam. Here's the thing though, what if they don't? What if the first Twitter hears about the spam is from the advertiser? Being in that situation is what Twitter is trying to keep to a minimum. That is the nightmare scenario that they live in today. Today they are in that situation several hundred times per week. Those are uncomfortable calls. (Probably hundreds per day by now? I haven't checked in a while.) With their new system, over time, I could see that going to ten to a hundred a week. (Maybe even lower if you add automated firehose processing for advertisers on the backend.)
They say "The customer is always right." Well, for Twitter, the customer is the advertiser.
Then they will need to get used to disappointment, just like the rest of us. What they're asking for -- and what Twitter is promising -- is not reasonably achievable without fundamentally changing the nature of the service.
Today they are in that situation several hundred times per week.
TWTR has a $25 billion market cap, which they achieved with their current terms of service. I'm sure I have a violin small enough to play for them around here somewhere, but my scanning electron microscope is in the shop.