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Twitter Login Verification Bug

A few days ago, I was unable to log in to my Perishable Twitter account. My login credentials simply did not work. I’ve been successfully logging into Twitter since 2007 with no problems. So it was surprising at first, and then I figured it was some sort of weird Twitter bug. So I began investigating and recording the events/details in this post..

tl;dr

Be careful with Twitter’s Login Verification feature — it locked me out of my account for 3 days. To resolve, you need to contact Twitter support and jump through the hoops. If you don’t want to wait three (or more) days before logging into your Twitter account, leave Twitter Login Verification disabled. Instead, just choose a super strong password and enable “Password reset verification” — more than sufficient for single-user Twitter accounts.

[ Twitter Login Verification ]Twitter Account Security: Login Verification feature (disabled)

The long story..

There is some sort of weird bug with Twitter’s Login Verification feature (aka text-verification, two-factor authentication, 2-factor, 2FA, et al). It’s where they send you a login code via text message that must be entered correctly before logging in to your account. This setting is disabled by default; you have to go thru a series of steps to enable it.

[ Twitter Login Verification - Start Screen ]Twitter Login Verification (explained)

When enabled, Twitter’s Login Verification locks some people out of their account. Not all accounts obviously or they probably would have fixed the issue by now. Rather, this bug affects only a subset of visitors. Not sure exactly which subset, that is for the Twitter devs to figure out ;)

Can’t log in!

Really super frustrating not being to log in to your Twitter account. I spent about 10 minutes or so trying to log in, but login always would fail with the following message:

We had a problem sending your request. Please try again.

Here is a screenshot of the error as displayed on screen:

[ Screenshot: Twitter Login Fail: We had a problem sending your request. Please try again. ]Twitter Login Fail: We had a problem sending your request. Please try again.

That was around three days ago. I tried all of the troubleshooting tips, reset password, and everything else. After numerous login attempts, I grew a bit concerned. Was this a hack? A bug? Something weird like a shadowban or worse..? Obviously, it was time to investigate further..

Investigation

A quick search revealed at least one other similar report. Entering proper login credentials results in the generic error: “We had a problem sending your request.” Normally what happens is that you get a “Login Verification” screen after entering your username and password. The screen says something like:

Enter verification code. We just sent an SMS with a verification code to your phone. Enter that code below.

The problem is that the text message is not sent (or received), and the verification screen is not displayed. Trying to log in just gets you that generic error message, “We had a problem sending your request.” So that was the first big clue as to what was happening. I checked my other Twitter accounts (like 7 of them) — none of which had Login Verification enabled — and was able to log in just fine. So at that point, it seemed obvious that the issue was with Login Verification, for some reason failing the login authentication process.

Solution

After about an hour fiddling and testing, it was time to send a support request to Twitter. Long story short, eventually Twitter support was able to help me log in to my account. Yes it was a slow, tedious process, jumping through all of the hoops, but ultimately it worked: I was able to log in to my account once again. What was the solution? Was my “login-verification” hypothesis correct? Yes, apparently so. As shown in the following email thread, the solution provided by Twitter support was to disable the Login Verification feature. Since doing so, I’ve had no problems logging in to my Twitter account.

Support thread

To help anyone who may be dealing with this frustrating situation, here is the email conversation that I had with support over the course of three or so days. First was my initial support request:

To: Twitter Support

After years of using Twitter with no problems, today I tried to log in as usual but keep getting the error: “we had a problem sending your request. please try again.” I’ve tried everything in your troubleshooting guide, reset passwords, etc., but nothing will work and I cannot log in. Please help, thank you!

Twitter responds with basic troubleshooting steps and the following message:

To: Twitter User

[Troubleshooting tips (removed for clarity)]

If you’ve tried the above options and still need help accessing your account, please reply to this email for further assistance. For security reasons, we can only process this request if you contact us from the email address associated with your Twitter account. If you need to file a new report, you can do so here: https://help.twitter.com/forms/signin.

Bummer. I use email aliases for most of my online accounts. So I had to set up a new dedicated email account just for Twitter, then add the account to my email app, and then resend my initial support request. Just so that I can respond to Twitter’s email. Alright whatever, 8,500+ Twitter followers is worth the effort. So, after setting everything up, I resent my original cry for help.

Unfortunately, I did not receive a reply to my second email support request. So I sent a third request, this time rephrasing and adding further infos, just in case there are duplicate-message filters or whatever in place:

To: Twitter Support

Hello, I have been using Twitter since 2007 and never had any issues logging in to my account. Today I tried to log in as usual but keep getting the error: “we had a problem sending your request. please try again.” I’ve tried everything in your troubleshooting guide, reset passwords, etc., but nothing will work and I cannot log in to my account.

Note: I *am* able to log in to my other Twitter accounts with no problem. The only difference between the accounts is that text-verification is enabled on the account to which I am unable to log in. So I am thinking that the issue is related to that. Please help me to get logged in to my account, thank you.

The next day or so, I receive a reply to my third request:

To: Twitter User

Hello,

Thanks for writing in. Many people who have reported issues with login verification have found the following tips helpful:

  • Having trouble receiving push notifications? You can access pending login requests from within your Twitter app on your device:
    1. Open the Twitter app and navigate to “Settings”.
    2. Tap “Account”, then tap “Security”.
    3. Select “Login Requests” to see a list of all requests available to approve or deny.
    4. Pull down on the list to refresh and see the most recent requests.
  • When you enrolled in login verification from your device, did you generate a backup code? If so, you can use that code to log in to your account on twitter.com from a desktop or laptop computer. Additionally, if you still have access to your app, you can generate a new code from your device. More information can be found here: https://help.twitter.com/managing-your-account/issues-with-login-authentication#backup-code.
  • If you’re not receiving SMS or third-party authenticator app security code notifications, but you are still logged in to your Twitter app:
    1. Navigate to your account’s “Settings”.
    2. Tap “Account”, then tap “Security”.
    3. Tap “Login code generator”.
    4. Use the code shown to log in to your Twitter account.
  • If the above tips do not work, and you can still access your account from your device, you can disable login verification by following these steps:
    1. Navigate to your account’s “Settings”.
    2. Tap “Account”, then select “Security”.
    3. Disable “Login verification”.

You can also check out our login verification troubleshooting article for more helpful tips: https://help.twitter.com/managing-your-account/issues-with-login-authentication.

If you’ve tried the above options and still need help accessing your account, please reply to this email for further assistance. For security reasons, we can only process this request if you contact us from the email address associated with your Twitter account.

If you need to file a new report, you can do so here: https://help.twitter.com/forms/signin.

Thanks,

Twitter Support

So at this point, it feels like progress. But effectively I’m still at step one: contacting Twitter support. Following support’s recommendation to “please reply to this email for further assistance,” I sent the following reply:

To: Twitter Support

Hello,

I have tried everything possible/recommended and still cannot log in to my account. I have been on Twitter since 2007 and never had a problem logging in. I think the issue is related to the text-verification that is enabled on my account. Because it is not enabled on my other Twitter accounts, and I am able to log into each of them just fine. Please help!

Thank you,

Jeff

I received the following reply about a day later. I thought it was going to say something like, “we have disabled Login Verification on your account so you can now log in.” But no. Apparently there was one more hoop to jump through..

To: Twitter User

Hello,

We may be able to help you regain access to your account by disabling login verification.

First, we’ll need to confirm you as the account owner. Please try logging in once more on https://twitter.com (from a desktop/laptop computer or a mobile web browser) with your correct username and password. This will generate a notification on our end, and we may be able to use this to confirm you as the owner of the account.

Please reply to this email once you’ve done that, and we’ll do our best to help.

Thanks,

Twitter Support

Lol, okay whatever you say boss. So I went and tried to log in once again. And once again was denied. Then I replied with the following confirmation:

To: Twitter Support

Hello,

Thank you so much for your help.

I have done as requested and attempted to log into my account from my home computer (IP: 123.123.123).

Please let me know how to proceed.

Thank you,

– Jeff

And then finally, after being locked out of my account for three days, I finally get the good news:

To: Twitter User

Hello,

We’ve disabled login verification on your account, and you should now be able to log in without a code.

Once you’re back into your account, please take a minute to double-check that your mobile settings are up to date: https://twitter.com/settings/devices.

Thanks,

Twitter Support

And YES! That did the trick. I immediately logged into my account successfully, checked my settings as recommended, and changed my password. All set.

So apparently my hypothesis is correct: there is a bug with Twitter’s Login Verification feature that randomly locks people out of their account. Hopefully someone will take notice and get it resolved soon. Until then, I’m gonna go ahead and leave the two-factor login verification DISABLED from now on. LOL. Just not enough time to spend wrestling with this sort of unnecessary hoop jumping or whatever you want to call it.

My advice

Unless you don’t mind getting randomly locked out of your account for several days or longer, and don’t mind jumping through a bunch of hoops trying to restore account access, my best advice is to just leave the two-factor Login Verification feature disabled. Just make sure to use a super-strong password and change it regularly. And if you do get locked out of your account, follow all of the troubleshooting tips and then contact Twitter support. They will be glad to help you! :)

Jeff Starr
About the Author Jeff Starr = Designer. Developer. Producer. Writer. Editor. Etc.
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One response
  1. I think you earlier recommendation stood tall: – Use a good, strong password.

    I actually use a small “pen-drive” to carry my login-credentials, in text-files – because there is NO WAY I can remember those passwords. – LOL!

    I also found that using WordPress.org’s – on-line WP-Salt generator as a good source of strong passwords.

    Moral of the story:

    Ultimately, it is WE who can provide the best form of security, “physical security” (IE: Keeping our passwords physically safe).

    2FA is a great idea, . . .

    When it is working properly!

    – Jim

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