Twitter expands security with authentication tools for withheld tweets

New device or lost Twitter password? Twitter is making its two-factor authentication process even more secure by adding support for Authenticator and Authy, services that are considered less easily hacked. The added security also comes as Twitter launches new tools designed for greater transparency over tweets and accounts that are withheld in compliance with local laws or government requests.

Twitter’s login uses a two-factor model that requires a phone number for added user protection when logging in on a new device. With the change, users will still need to enter a phone number to get a text with the verification code. But users now have the option to use third-party authenticator apps that allow that code to disappear after about 30 seconds, as The Verge explains, making it harder for a hacker to find the authentication code.

Like before, users have to go into their settings and turn on the two-factor authentication first to add the extra security. With the update, users can also choose Authenticator or Authy inside of the privacy settings by accessing the “review your login verification methods.”

Along with the added security, Twitter is also alerting users with more details when content has been banned by operation of law. Country Withheld Content (CWC) has been around since 2012, a tool that blocks out the content of a tweet prohibited by law rather than just removing the tweet from the feed. The tool is used for laws as well as for court orders in individual cases. For example, the German Network Enforcement Act requires that Twitter blocks “hate speech” for users in Germany.

Now, that same CWC tool will tell users why they can’t see that content. For tweets, the CWC replaces the message with a note saying that the tweet from that user was withheld and where. For court orders and similar restrictions, the alert says that the tweet was withheld “in response to legal demand” while local laws are noted with “based on local law(s).”

Similar changes were also made to the CWC tool when entire accounts are blocked.

Twitter says the update is designed for more transparency, allowing the platform to still comply with laws and court orders while letting users know which of those categories the block falls under. This expands on the company’s related current efforts, including regular transparency reports.