Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and the new owner of microblogging and social networking giant Twitter intends to add E2EE (end-to-end encryption to the Direct Messages (DM) feature of Twitter.
In reality, Twitter and other social networks play a significant role in social and political discourse and have an increasingly important corollary responsibility to make sure that their decision-making is both transparent and accountable.
Musk believes it is essential to adopt E2EE like Signal to prevent spying or hacking of users’ messages on Twitter.
Musk tweeted, “Twitter DMs should have end-to-end encryption like Signal, so no one can spy on or hack your messages”.
He also mentioned that the lack of E2EE for Twitter DMs had remained a concern for the Electronic Frontier Foundation/EFF for undermining user safety/privacy because Twitter itself can access it and hand it over to government/law enforcement agencies.
EFF says “Because they are not end-to-end encrypted, Twitter itself has access to them. That means Twitter can hand them over in response to law enforcement requests, they can be leaked, and malicious hackers can abuse internal access and Twitter employees themselves (as has happened in the past)”.
Musk has recently been crucial of anonymous users on the platform, and recommended that Twitter should “authenticate all real humans.” He also spoke about changing the verification process by which accounts get blue checkmarks next to their names to signify they are “verified.”
Botnets and trolls have long presented a problem for Twitter, but requiring users to submit identification to prove that they’re “real” goes against the company’s ethos.
Direct Messages on Twitter
Direct messages on Twitter can be read by you, the user you sent them to, and Twitter itself. Thus they can be leaked, and internal access can be abused by malicious hackers and Twitter employees themselves.
It is safer if the direct messages are protected with end-to-end encryption. Also, it is essential to provide third-party developers, and users, more access to control their experience. This improves the safety and security of users.
Musk’s Plans for Future Enhancement
Musk wanted Twitter to become better and enrich the platform with exemplary new features such as making its algorithms open-source to improve users’ trust, authenticating human users, and defeating spambots.
He also believes that Twitter should offer an Edit button and aims to implement it soon. The change will likely impact all users soon.
Riana Pfefferkorn, a research scholar at the Stanford Internet Observatory says “In total, [end-to-end encryption] for DMs would be a net gain for user privacy and security”.