Chaos on Twitter and Trump’s return to office have users worried about data

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dated: 2022-11-20 16:33:16 .

Twitter is in chaos.

Elon Musk, its new owner, has decimated his workforce, giving those who stay this week an ultimatum – work hard hours and be “extremely hardcore” or leave. Hundreds thought the latter and headed for the door.

There are already signs that the exodus is straining the system. Some users have experienced problems receiving text messages to sign in using two-step verification. Test pages pop up in the wild.

Some users are seeing renewed spam in direct messages and their feed, while others are complaining of getting new replies to long-deleted tweets and saved drafts of tweets disappearing. Still, the bird side continues.

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Twitter won’t shut down overnight. However, security experts warn that drastic job cuts could open the door to fraudsters exploiting platform vulnerabilities and compromised user accounts.

While there’s not much you can do about Musk’s impromptu takedown of one of the world’s most important Internet information ecosystems, there are steps you can take to protect your account if, like millions of other Twitter users, you’re not ready to fly into the coop in search of an Alternative.

ALLOWING MULTI-STEP AUTHENTICATION CHECK

Especially now, if you just use your Twitter username and password to log in, it’s important to add an extra step to the process to make it harder for hackers to access your account.

Twitter has three methods to choose from: text message, authentication app, or security key. Since there have been a few bugs where users were not receiving text messages to authenticate their accounts, and since this is considered more secure, using an authenticator app is probably the best option.

To do this, you need to download one of several available applications to your device. They are available for free in the Apple or Android app stores, and some examples are Google or Microsoft Authenticator, Authy, Duo Mobile and 1Password.

Once you have the app, open the desktop version of Twitter and click the icon with the ellipses in a circle. There you will find “Settings and privacy”, then “Security and account access” and finally “Security”. Here you can select “App Authenticator” and follow the setup instructions. Twitter will ask you to provide your email address if you haven’t already done so.

When you’re done, you can use your authentication app’s auto-generated numeric codes to add an extra layer of security when signing in to Twitter.

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STOP THIRD PARTY ACCESS

Jane Manchun Wong, an independent software and security researcher in Hong Kong who follows Twitter closely, recommends revoking permissions for third-party websites and apps through your Twitter account.

Because if there’s a potential security issue with Twitter’s API (or the API that allows third parties to access Twitter data, for example to build apps that work with Twitter), when fewer people work at the company, it will inevitably take longer to fix it.

To disable this feature, launch the Security and Account Access tool and go to Apps and Sessions. Here you should find all the third-party apps linked to your Twitter account — including some you may have linked years ago that no longer exist — and you can revoke access to each of them.

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DOWNLOAD YOUR ARCHIVE

For the nostalgists, explorers, or digital hoarders among us, the prospect of losing a decade or more of our Tweet history is catastrophic. But no fear. It may take a while, but you can download your Twitter “archive” if you want to make sure it’s preserved – just in case.

Like other more complex features, this tool is only available on the desktop version of Twitter in the “Your Account” section of the settings. You will need to re-enter your password and go through two-factor authentication if you have set one. When your archive is ready for download, you’ll receive a notification on Twitter.

Again, you need to download it on the desktop version of the site. Although this process usually takes about 24 hours, it can now take longer. Some users also reported that they had to try multiple times.

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KEEP YOUR FOLLOWER LIST

Although there is no perfect replacement for Twitter – and of course Twitter is still around! – Many users, especially from the fields of journalism, technology and science, connect to Mastodon, a little-known platform launched in 2016.

Mastodon is a decentralized social network. This means that it is not owned by any company or billionaire. Instead, it consists of a network of servers, each of which operates independently but can be connected, allowing people on different servers to communicate.

Signing up can be complicated — you have to choose a “server” to join, but whichever you choose, you can still communicate with people on other servers, much like you email people from your Gmail account. It can send email even if you are on Outlook or another email server.

Once you’re in, you can go to fedifinder.glitch.me and find your twitter followers or twitter lists, which you may need to see if they also have mastodon accounts. Many Twitter users also list other social networks and content information in their bios, or even Twitter display names, so people can connect with them – just in case.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Twitter chaos and Trump’s comeback have users worried about data

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Chaos on Twitter and Trump’s return to office have users worried about data

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