Twitter hopes to replace usernames and passwords with Digits

Twitter has just rolled out a new service for developers to integrate into their apps called Digits, which should make it more secure for consumers to sign into apps and services. Rather than complex usernames and passwords, Digits hopes to simplify the sign in process by using your phone number and an SMS verification to allow you to log in.

Announced at Twitter's Flight developer conference, Digits could be a good tool in the developing market where many don't possess a computer nor have an email address for a username to log in to services and apps. These people do have a mobile phone and a phone number, and Digits will tap that to make logins more secure. In a way, it's similar to two-step authentication.

TechCrunch says of the service:

To implement Digits, developers only have to put in a few lines of code into their apps, and then they have a viable alternative to password-based logins, or even Facebook or Google's authentication mechanisms, if they choose.

Three apps are listed as supporting Digits at launch: Fitstar, Resy, and OneFootball.

Source: Digits, Twitter

Chuong Nguyen

Chuong's passion for gadgets began with the humble PDA. Since then, he has covered a range of consumer and enterprise devices, raning from smartphones to tablets, laptops to desktops and everything in between for publications like Pocketnow, Digital Trends, Wareable, Paste Magazine, and TechRadar in the past before joining the awesome team at Windows Central. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, when not working, he likes exploring the diverse and eclectic food scene, taking short jaunts to wine country, soaking in the sun along California's coast, consuming news, and finding new hiking trails. 

  • I don't use twitter.
  • Me neither, but I usually keep it to myself because nobody cares.
  • I tried so hard not to laugh at that but I failed. 
  • Me too lol
  • Hero of the day :D
  • Haha
  • I used it 1/3 in comparison of Facebook. Maybe inbred per month
  • Hope so
  • Sounds a bit clunky to me.
  • I can type my username and password faster than it takes me to go in bed. Which is pretty fast so I don't think this is faster
  • Agreed. Downside of this is, at least in my case, that these services can a bit laggy when in it comes to sending a verification code... Sometimes it takes several minutes to receive a code and thats not so cool...
  • And it wont work in places where there is only a wifi signal. The idea of using my phone as a username is welcome, but mama needs her password.
  • I don't think the argument is that this method is faster, just more secure. You can have speed and convenience or security. It's tough to have both.
  • Is twitter on drugs lately?
  • I think it sounds safer this way. it's not a matter of being faster, it's a matter of security. I hope more apps do this
  • I'm skeptical about signing into sites using my phone number.
  • How do you feel about apps like whatsapp where you log in with your phone number and they automatically find your friends who are already using whatsapp (that means they have to send all your contacts' phone numbers to their servers)
  • So it's like two-factor authentication, without the first factor? So just authentication? Sounds ok but we should be promoting two-factor (even if password is no longer one of these factors) as much as possible. It's to easy to steal someone's Phone and have access to all their accounts before they get a change to block the SIM.
  • Almost as good as authentication and two step verification. I like the idea as long as I can use my google voice number!
  • It's annoying that some services don't support VOIP numbers (it's not just Google Voice). I get that they're trying to avoid fake temporary numbers, but GV is my real number, so if it's not supported I just won't use a service that requires phone auth
  • i think everyone should do away with passwords altogether...  it'll move from 2 step authenication back to 1 step...   type in username... they txt you're phone a code... you type that code in... and done...   instead of typing in username and password and the code we receive...    just make sure you pw lock your phone and suspend it asap when it's lost/stolen...
  • For people who don't have a computer, this might be a reasonable alternative. But far too often I have found SMS-based authentication schemes to take waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too long.
  • Update
  • +635 and soon +830
  • I thought the username a​nd password were cool, this ain't bbm
  • People in 2014 who don't have mail, but want to use Twitter. Wonder how many there are? Are my fingers enough?
  • I would upvote your comment to teh top if I could! Very, very good point. However, I do like the 2 step verification Google uses whenever I log into Google services away from my desktop or phone, they do send a code via text in a timely fashion. Never had to wait more than 30 seconds max.
  • This is a service for developers to be used in any app as a white label "log in with phone number" solution. Not a log in to the Twitter app solution
  • Complex about what? Turning on "remember me" helps allot even when signing in an app for the first time.
  • You're a number, not a member.
  • Stopped using twitter in 2010. Sooo....
  • I don't get all of these "I don't use Twitter" comments. Digits is a service offered to developers for their apps, not just another way to log in to Twitter itself. Many of the new smartphone users won't have laptops and have never used email. They competely skipped that and are going from dumb phones with SMS for communication to smart phones with apps.  Adding "log in with phone number" will make it easy to support these users. Twitter is taking care of confirming ownership of the number (with an SMS) in 200 countries and for free. That's a great option for developers. Of course, there's no SDK released for Windows Phone at this time (for any of the services Twitter announced today). Maybe it will still be simple enough to use from WP without an SDK and hopefully Twitter will take care of that soon.
  • Great for all this step,more security.
  • Well that's stupid
  • This is insanely unsafe, and probably that's the entire point. Stolen phones can easily be used to access everything, but more dangerously, it is easy to duplicate SIM cards or steal/access cell data for authorities and crooks alike (more so for authorities). Breaking passwords however is serious work.
  • Not using twitter