Twitter’s decline continues — follow me on Mastodon

Twitter is slowly breaking, basic functionality is failing, Elon Musk, the new founder of Twitter, is kicking off any journalist who ever annoyed him — and I can’t log in!

So I’m declaring my Twitter to be in a state of managed decline. Follow me on Mastodon instead.



Who uses Vodafone anyway

I mostly use Twitter from my laptop. I just switched to another laptop, and … Twitter has cut off Vodafone UK from receiving two-factor authentication (2FA) login codes!

I also have 2FA set up in an authenticator app on my phone, but Twitter doesn’t even ask — I enter my username and password, and I get “We cannot send a text message to this phone number because its operator is not supported” with no option to try to enter a code.

Multiple Vodafone UK users report the problem, and Three UK also seems to be affected. I haven’t seen any reports yet of O2 or EE being blocked. @VodafoneUK on Twitter says they weren’t notified by Twitter, and are looking into the issue.

Musk cut off all mobile operators in Ukraine a few days before. I wonder if he got Ukraine and the UK mixed up.


Error: We cannot send a text message to this phone number because its operator is not supported.


Who uses Spaces anyway

Twitter Spaces was an excellent feature — a reimplentation of the Clubhouse concept of audio chatrooms. Spaces was a good way to quickly put up a public chatroom on a topic. A place you could do a podcast recording with a public Q & A afterwards. It just worked really well.

I say “was,” because Musk kicked a pile of journalists he didn’t like off the service, then he found a Space with a pile of said journalists — his block didn’t keep them out of Spaces — they asked him in front of 40,000 listeners what he was thinking, and he disabled Spaces entirely. [Bloomberg, archive]

Spaces appears to be back on for now. This will last until the next time Musk goes into a Space and gets asked what the hell he thinks he’s doing.

Twitter no longer does the job

I liked Twitter a whole lot and was on it intermittently most of the time. Now I’m using it only as long as my phone is still logged in.

(How on Earth does anyone use Twitter on a phone? Ridiculous user experience.)

I’m now posting arbitrary short-form nonsense, much of it crypto-related, to my Mastodon account — That’s me camping out on a friend’s server, who said he was just trying it out, but seems to be having tremendous fun running an instance. If I move servers — a thing you can do more or less arbitrarily — I’ll let you know.

I don’t have a good alternative for Twitter DMs. Email me at

The wider crypto discourse is still on Twitter for now. But with basic functionality randomly failing, who knows what will happen next?

I can’t advise you on picking a good Mastodon server. But you can start on one of the large generic instances and move somewhere nicer at your leisure.

Mastodon is sort of clunky. It’s like if Twitter was Linux. But it’s where people seem to be going. See you there.


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7 Comments on “Twitter’s decline continues — follow me on Mastodon”

  1. Given how much of UK government and quango bodies run on Vodafone I wonder how long official accounts have got before fresh chaos arrives.

    1. The EU has already told Musk he can’t just switch off accounts, and there’s precedent in Germany to this effect. But it’s not clear Elon understands that governments can affect him. He’s already $44 billion in a hole, what are they gonna do – fine him?

      1. I wonder how many wealthy South Africans who left when the ANC came in for the differently racist opportunities of the governments they could buy in the United States* learned totally transferable skills about regulatory arbitrage.

        Musk and creatures of his ilk do not, as we have discussed previously, understand the extent to which they are cossetted creatures of government. It may be that it was Grumman who put the landers’ landing pads on the moon, and Rockwell and Rocketdyne and North American and more that got those big foily feet on the big cheese, but it was the tax-raising power of a nation state haunted by the prophetic statement of a drug-crazed sex-machine in a speech full of nods to the fivefold traitor kingdom of Tejas.

        Musk is a creature of sufficient privilege that the notion of jail is more remote to him than Mars, and of sufficient self-importance that he probably considers it as tameable. Who knows, he might A(y)n (Rand) Hero himself to a solution.

        * Rhodesia no longer being available as an escape route / strategic racism reserve.

  2. The cryptoskeptic discussion is the only thing that keeps me reading twitter. I’m on Mastodon (and enjoying it) but the level of crypto snark just isn’t there yet.

    Musk is suffering from the worst case of Engineer’s Disease I have ever seen. He probably looked at the Twitter web site and thought it was simple enough. And he is right, the public facing Twitter is not some secret technology, it is rather straightforward.

    However, Twitter (the company) has spent a decade building relationships with governments, news organizations, technology partners, advertisers, and the general public. These were hard-won and irreplaceable and Mush doesn’t seem to care about them at all because they are intangible.

    His “free speech for everyone (except journalists apparently)” stance alone is reason for governments and advertisers to start quietly slip away. That makes Twitter hard to operate. All Twitter has now is inertia but how long before it falls below the critical mass of public interest and becomes a MySpace?

  3. It’s getting even worse for those of us in the sciences, because now all we do is fend off Cat Piss Men that had been banned in the past. I’m not shutting down my account (I have no interest in the handle being poached), but I AM emphasizing subscribing to the newsletter if readers want to keep in touch.

    1. Paul, I like the idea of Twitter having a purpose.
      A global address book for everyone’s non-Twitter social media is an excellent purpose.

  4. Myself, I never considered short codes sent in SMS as a viable second factor, mostly because my SIP provider’s SMS is iffy with short codes, and I downgraded to a dumb phone lately. I use TOTP wherever possible. Also, my passwords are all generated nonsense.

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