Those wishing to sign up for a new Twitter account under the guise of the Tor network will now have to jump through an additional hoop to make it happen. That’s because the microblogging platform has implemented a new method of verification which they hope will help cut down on trolling.
When signing up for a new account using the regular ole Internet, all one needs to provide for activation is an e-mail address – something that can be created in a matter of seconds without incurring any cost. That’s no longer the case with Tor users as they are now required to hand over a phone number right from the start.
The added step will no doubt frustrate some that use Tor for legitimate reasons (anonymous news tips, for example) but the obvious goal here is to ward off the casual troll. Whether or not this new requirement will be effective, however, remains to be seen.
It looks like Twitter is locking down Tor and requiring a phone number to verify new accounts. pic.twitter.com/qvZbmjHrGV— Jonathan Zdziarski (@JZdziarski) March 3, 2015
Serious Tor users that don’t want to give up their identities could simply go out and buy a cheap pre-paid phone from their corner convenience store. Problem solved. It’s even easier to spoof a phone number using an app like Burner which provides a temporary phone number free of charge.
To reiterate, the change is likely in response to Twitter’s massive troll issue. Last month, CEO Dick Costolo issued an internal memo in which he admitted his company sucks at dealing with abuse and trolls. Costolo accepted full responsibility for the issue and vowed to remedy the situation.
This is a good first step although as I've laid out, it's not exactly foolproof either.