According to a tweet by Twitter’s owner Elon Musk, the company will launch an encrypted chat service on Wednesday.
End-to-end encryption will be used for all direct messages sent over Twitter, making them private and only readable by the sender and receiver.
Even if someone held a gun to his head, Mr. Musk declared that he would not be able to access users’ messages.
Additionally, he tweeted about additional upcoming platform updates, such as voice and video calls.
Mr. Musk indicated aspirations to make Twitter into a “super-app” with many features when he purchased it in 2022. There isn’t really a similar platform in the West to China’s super-app WeChat, which can be used for anything from social media and restaurant ordering to payments and texting.
Since then, he has made a number of significant modifications to the social network, such as the addition of a subscription service and the elimination of the previous version of Twitter’s blue tick badges, which were designed to combat the spread of misinformation.
For a long time, many Twitter users have demanded that the platform’s private messaging function be made more secure. In the UK, however, where the government’s Online Safety Bill wants such messages to be accessible if asked by police enforcement, Mr. Musk’s timing may prove uncomfortable for him. According to this, children will be better protected from abuse.
WhatsApp and Signal, two messaging services, have both questioned this section of the Online Safety Bill, which is presently making its way through Parliament.
They expressed concern in April that the legislation might weaken end-to-end encryption, which is seen as a crucial tool by privacy activists and campaigners.
In a letter urging reconsideration, the leaders of a number of messaging services, including these two, claimed that the bill’s current form allows for the “routine, general, and indiscriminate surveillance” of private messages.
The Messenger platform from Facebook’s parent company Meta now uses encryption, with some exclusions, such as Marketplace talks.
Mr. Musk predicted that Twitter’s encrypted chat “will rapidly advance in sophistication.”
According to ESET’s Jake Moore, a cybersecurity expert, Twitter is addressing user requests for more privacy.
He told the BBC that without end-to-end encryption, “Twitter staff and the company itself have the ability to read people’s messages.”
Although the platform could benefit greatly from the ability of marketers to micro-target consumers, there is a significant security risk for those messaging without such privacy protection.