Since his twitter takeover, Elon Musk has been throwing a lot of ideas at the wall. The introduction of encrypted, end-to-end direct messages, which you could call Twitter 2.0, was one of the most lauded but also controversial.
What will Elon Musk do with Twitter 2.0 to introduce encrypted messaging
Musk wrote in a tweet on 28 April that “Twitter DMs should have end-to-end encryption like SignalThis is to ensure that no one can intercept or hack your messages. Musk’s tweet had 1.4 million followers and has been retweeted over 110,000 times as of the writing.
There’s no secret about the fact that Zak Doffman, Kate O’Flaherty, myself and the SME Straight Talking Cyber group use the Signal encrypted message app. It’s good that Musk is trying to make Twitter’s direct messaging functionality more similar to Signal. Just four days before Musk’s announcement, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), called for exactly this. It stated that, “When you send a tweet direct to Twitter, three parties can read it”: You, the person you sent it too, and Twitter.
The EFF stated that this allows Twitter to turn them in when law enforcement requests. The EFF continued that “they could be leaked and internal access can easily be abused” by both malicious hackers or employees of Twitter.
Privacy is not guaranteed by encrypted messages
It was clear that Musk wanted Twitter to be bought. One concern I noticed on Twitter when he made the announcement, was that the owner could see all messages. Although end-to-end encryption won’t solve all privacy problems, it could at least soothe those snooping concerns.
However, it can’t provide an entirely private messaging service. Access to your account can be gained by anyone, including a loved one who picks up an unlocked smartphone or a malicious actor who compromises the endpoint. They could also read any messages you have sent. People could also abuse encrypted messaging. That’s why the system isn’t in place.
Twitter states it can “manually review DMs to investigate reported violations and misuse of our service, or to comply with laws or governmental requests.These are all things that do not take into account the restrictions or prohibitions placed on such encrypted platforms.
Musk’s vision of free speech and a global social network is still alive. However, it remains to be determined if he would willingly sacrifice that vision to enable encrypted messaging for everyone. It will be a long wait and see what the next months bring.