Twitter’s Chief Twit, Elon Musk, has presented his plans to improve Twitter users’ communication privacy. The new Twitter owner said this in a meeting he had with Twitter employees, where he made a presentation with a slide titled “Twitter 2.0” at the San Francisco office of the micro-blogging site.
Musk told employees that the company will encrypt Direct Messages (DMs) and work to allow video and voice chats between Twitter users.
“We want to enable users to be able to communicate without being concerned about their privacy, [or] without being concerned about a data breach at Twitter causing all of their DMs to hit the web, or think that maybe someone at Twitter could be spying on their DMs. […] That’s obviously not going to be cool and it has happened a few times before,” Musk said.
With the past record of events around DM getting targeted and exposed, this move seems like a step in the right direction. In 2018, Twitter raised a notice that an undisclosed number of DMs between some businesses and their customers had been accessible by third parties for over a year.
Also, earlier this year, the US government arraigned a former Twitter employee that had been charged with improperly accessing user data on behalf of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. However, it is unclear how direct messages were involved in the case.
Musk went on to add that the case of getting access to someone’s DM should not be something that can be attempted, but it should be an impossible mission.
“It should be the case that I can’t look at anyone’s DMs if somebody has put a gun to my head,” Musk told Twitter employees.
The tech billionaire also praised the level of security programmed into Signal – a messaging app. Musk said he is in talk with the Signal creator, Moxie Marlinspike, who he said is “potentially willing to help out” with encrypting Twitter DMs.
“Ironically, Moxie Marlinspike worked at Twitter and actually wanted to do encrypted DMs several years ago, [but] was denied that and then went and created Signal,” Musk said.
Additionally, Musk said Twitter is working to add Video and Voice calling feature to Twitter. He added that with the way Twitter accounts are set up, users should be able to make video and voice calls without revealing their personal details, like phone numbers.
In the meantime, Twitter has decided to pause the launch of the Twitter Blue Verified feature. Musk said this feature will be put on hold till Twitter has found a confident way to prevent impersonation. The feature, which was intended to relaunch on the 29th of November swiftly got abused by parody accounts masking as corporations, celebrities, and government officials.
One account impersonated the pharmaceutical company – Eli Lilly – and posted a tweet saying: “We are excited to announce insulin is free now.” The tweet got millions of views before it was removed, and the single act resulted in the company’s stocks dropping by 4.37%.