7 Steps to Accidentally Lock Yourself Out of All of Your Twitter Accounts
1. Start using Google Authenticator
You know how a lot of apps text you little codes via SMS when you sign in? That’s called Two Factor Authentication, or 2FA. There’s this great app called Google Authenticator you can use so you don’t have to use SMS.
2. Move 9 Twitter Accounts to Google Authenticator
I run a lot of Twitter bots, so I moved everything over to Google Authenticator.
3. Walk into a swimming pool with your phone in your pocket
Zap. Dead phone. No hope of recovery. Darn it.
4. Restore your iPhone from iCloud
Restoring from a backup is usually seamless. Sure, it takes a long time to get everything re-downloaded. But once it works, it’s like a carbon copy! Except it turns out that’s not how Google Authenticator works.
5. Stare in disbelief at a blank Google Authenticator
The page was just blank. All my codes were gone. Meaning I was locked out of every single one of my Twitter accounts. I still know all my passwords, but Twitter requires a password and a code. And with my codes gone, there’s nothing I can do. Apparently I could have made backup codes, but I never did. The accounts are locked and gone.
6. Be sad
This took a few days. I wrote Twitter tech support explaining the situation, but that’s exactly what a hacker would do. I don’t have high hopes.
7. Get over it
I want to make something really clear. I’m not writing this post to complain about Google Authenticator, or Twitter, or iPhones. I realised that the accounts are gone. And the quicker I can realise that, process it, and get over it, the better. It really sucks. But, ok. Now what?
So I’m writing this post to process it. I guess I’m not using those Twitter accounts anymore. Not even the four bots that run year-long as art experiments. I just won’t be running those this year. Which is sad.
But it frees me up to do new things. I’m going to design a new Twitter bot, which will be fun. And this time I’m going to make sure to use a backup code. Onward!