In the beginning, there was Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams and the quartet was Twitter, and Twitter was a Short Message Service (SMS). Well, not anymore, Twitter first turned off the ability to send tweets in September last year and has now finally turned off the option to receive SMS messages containing the text of new tweets in all but “a few countries” that rely on the feature.
The nostalgic +8988 was gone way before this announcement with the introduction of affordable smartphones that could run the more advanced Smartphone app with new features, but Twitter has finally decided to kill the SMS feature officially marking the end of an era.
The change largely marks the end of an era for Twitter: when the service launched, it was built around SMS. Its original 140-character limit was tailored to text message sizes, and you were meant to send and receive new tweets entirely over SMS.
Twitter had disabled the ability to compose tweets via text after hackers gained access to the phone number of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, at which point, they were able to use the SMS feature to tweet from his account. Twitter promptly disabled sending tweets via SMS for all but “a few locations.”
This latest update is also said to be about helping “people keep their accounts safe,” according to a Twitter spokesperson. It’s not entirely clear what the risk is when receiving tweets, rather than sending them, but Twitter has been interested in phasing this feature out for some time now. If people receive tweets over SMS, it can’t display ads to them, so it would much rather have people checking the app.
“We turned off the remainder of our Twitter via SMS feature, except for a few countries that rely on it to use Twitter,” the Twitter spokesperson said. Twitter will still send “important SMS messages” for securing accounts, like authentication codes.
Twitter has also removed millions of accounts linked to the potential vulnerability in the service.