Musk claims that the developer of Signal is interested in assisting in the creation of a system in which “I can’t look at anyone’s DMs if someone has put a gun to my head.”
Elon Musk, Twitter’s new owner, has stated publicly his goal to improve the social network’s direct messaging. In a meeting with colleagues today, he detailed exactly what that entails.
According to a recording of the meeting acquired by The Verge, Musk informed staff at Twitter’s San Francisco offices on Monday that the firm would encrypt DMs and strive to add encrypted video and voice calls between accounts, framed by presentation slides labeled “Twitter 2.0.”
“We want to enable users to interact without worrying about their privacy, [or] without worrying about a data breach at Twitter causing all of their DMs to be exposed on the web, or thinking that maybe someone at Twitter is eavesdropping on their DMs,” Musk stated. “That’s obviously not going to be cool, and it’s occurred before.”
Musk is correct about DMs being disclosed previously. In 2018, Twitter cautioned that an unspecified number of direct messages (DMs) between businesses and their consumers had been accessible to outsiders for more than a year. In addition, the US government prosecuted an ex-employee earlier this year for inappropriately obtaining user data on behalf of Saudi Arabia, though it’s unclear how DMs were or were not used.
Twitter has started and then stopped implementing encrypted direct messages multiple times over the years. Musk, on the other hand, has made encryption a primary goal for his Twitter 2.0 agenda. “If there’s a gun to my head, I shouldn’t be able to peek at anyone’s DMs,” he told colleagues on Monday.
He then praised Signal, an encrypted chat software run by a non-profit. He stated that he spoke with its founder, Moxie Marlinspike, who is now “possibly willing to help out” with encrypting Twitter direct messages.
“Ironically, Moxie Marlinspike worked at Twitter and actually wanted to implement encrypted DMs several years ago, [but] was disallowed,” Musk remarked. (Those interested can read about Marlinspike’s experience at Twitter in The Wall Street Journal from 2015.)