In the midst of its legal spat with Elon Musk, one of the world’s richest man, Twitter is developing new platform features. Many individuals have urged Twitter to make improvements to how it recognises accounts and what can be done to highlight which ones are more trustworthy than others. A Twitter label has now been dug up by engineer Jane Manchun Wong that would identify accounts that have a confirmed phone number.
Additionally, she revealed a test feature that shows the number of times a tweet has been viewed, which some users already have access to for their own tweets under the moniker “analytics.” However, she noted that it is not obvious if this would only be available to the author or to everyone.
Accounts with a verified phone number or email address are already necessary for “blue check” verification. When then-CEO Jack Dorsey discussed ambitions to enable verification for everyone, he referenced letting individuals verify details about themselves, which may have been analogous to how businesses like Tinder and Airbnb use phone numbers as part of their account verification processes.
Linking an account to a number is one approach to show that it took more time and effort to construct than the simplest macro. It may also be used to filter out tweets that pass through the highest degree of quality filters or those that appear prominently on the page.
The same phone number can be linked to up to ten distinct Twitter accounts, and developers can tag automated accounts to make it clear that there isn’t a real person posting anything. Despite that, Securing information becomes a problem, too, when users are encouraged to broadcast their status and link their phone numbers to their profiles.
Twitter revealed the specifics of an incident that gave an attacker access to 5.4 million account names linked to specific phone numbers and email addresses on August 5th. According to the firm, the privacy hole was introduced in a June 2021 update, wasn’t discovered by Twitter until January, and Twitter didn’t discover the information had been stolen until July, when accusations about someone trying to sell the database started to spread in the media.
Attackers used social engineering to gain access to Twitter’s internal tools during the 2020 hack, which allowed them to tweet about Bitcoin from Jack Dorsey and Joe Biden’s accounts. Another Bloomberg report mentioned that some contractors had spied on celebrity Twitter accounts using the platform’s tools, and earlier this month, a former employee was found guilty of spying after he allegedly used his position to “access the email addresses, phone numbers, and birth dates of users who were critical of the Saudi government.”
The vulnerability of data was highlighted by Twitter’s $150 million settlement in May for improperly using phone numbers and email addresses obtained for two-factor authentication in its ad targeting. There is increased pressure to make sure that information shared on social media is from real people or at least someone who lives in the country they represent as the midterm elections draw closer. Although it’s unknown if or when Twitter would make the phone number tag generally accessible, it might be used to assess an account’s credibility.