Using two-factor authentication (2FA) is a smart, simple tactic to add a little extra data security in your life. For those unaware, 2FA is when you use a secondary authentication method—like code generator apps or Bluetooth keys—to validate your identity when logging into a website or app. There’s a similar version of the technology called two-step authentication (2SA), which sends authentication codes over text message or email, but this isn’t as secure as 2FA. In fact, it can be dangerous in certain circumstances.
It’s also more likely to be exploited by companies.
Twitter is one such example. The platform previous only used 2SA via text messages, which required users to provide their phone numbers. It turns out Twitter may have “unintentionally” collected and sold some of those phone numbers to marketing companies, meaning you either had to risk someone hacking into your account or hand over your personal information without any control over how it could be used.
Thankfully, Twitter now supports other 2FA methods for the web client, though expanded 2FA support will hopefully be coming to the mobile apps soon as well. This also means you can swap to a new 2FA method and remove your phone number from your Twitter account information as well.
On Twitter, tap the “More” tab, then go to Settings > Account.
Click your phone number
Click “Delete phone number.”
You’ll see a pop-up notifying you that this will turn off any SMS alerts and text message authentication (if you have it turned on). If you’re cool with that, click “Yes, Delete,” and—poof—your phone number is no longer in your account data.
Be sure to set up a new 2FA method if you were previously using SMS authentication. You can create one by going to Settings > Accounts > Security > Two-factor authentication.