Twitter Enforces Tor Users To Provide Phone Number To Create An Account
Twitter is working on increasing the social network’s security and among the efforts, it has added a new step in the sign up process: Tor users must provide a phone number to open a new account on Twitter.
Twitter has been a victim of trolls for quite a time now. Even the company’s CEO admitted that. After incidents of harassment, which include Robin William’s daughter getting abused by trolls on the social network, Twitter started reviewing its policy to protect its users. However, the problem of anonymity was a huge concern in order to track down trolls because they were able to create another account and start trolling again.
To solve this problem, Twitter decided to track people down by asking them to provide their phone numbers in a hope that this would help in preventing trolls to create multiple accounts. Now, the company has taken its first step in this direction by asking users who try to set up a new account on Twitter via anonymous web browser Tor.
As just mentioned, Tor is a web browser that keeps the user identity private by using different techniques. It uses a built-in VPN service that hides the source where data is coming from, thereby keeping the user anonymous. The purpose of Tor browser is to help people working as human rights and security activists, and those in legitimate circles. For example, whistle blowers can use the browser to reveal “bad” practices of a firm, that may be harmful to the society, without worrying about their identity leakage.
But Tor can also be used by trolls to perform unethical activities because they know they would never get caught as their IP address is always hidden. Hence, Twitter has enforced the policy on Tor users that requires them to provide their phone number when creating an account on Twitter.
However, the policy is not applicable to all Twitter users as identified by TechCrunch’s Jon Russel:
“I was able to open a new Twitter account using Google’s Chrome browser by just providing an email address. The same process done within Tor left me needing to submit a phone number for SMS verification.”
Twitter has not commented on the news yet.
Many conclusions can be drawn from this news. Twitter may be testing a process and planning to roll it out for every user soon. Or may be the social network is targeting users behind Tor browser.