Twitter boss Elon Musk has claimed the US government has full access to everything on the microblogging site – including private direct messages (DMs) between users.
Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion last October, and since then the tech billionaire has been keen to turn it into an “everything app.”
The company has made several changes of late, including the introduction of subscription-based account verification, an updating of its 2FA policy, and even a change in logo to the Doge meme. Additionally, the social media giant has partnered with eToro to bring cryptocurrency access to the platform.
The latest news, though, is likely to shock even those who’ve become immune to headlines about Twitter.
Elon Musk just revealed that the US government was using Twitter DMs to secretly spy on Americans! Should everyone involved in this obvious violation of freedom be arrested?
— Matt Wallace (@MattWallace888) April 16, 2023
Musk drops bombshell
In a television interview, Musk made the explosive revelation about the privacy (or lack thereof) of users.
“The degree to which various government agencies effectively had full access to everything that was going on on Twitter blew my mind. I was not aware of that,” said Musk in a clip shared by Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson. “Would that include people’s DMs?” Carlson asked, and Musk replied, “Ah, yes.”
A more charitable view of this, of course, is that Musk was speaking in the past tense.
The extent of Twitter’s influence has been a topic of debate since its inception, with recent statements by critics raising concerns about the potential power that owner Musk wields.
As Luke Zaleski, Legal Affairs Editor at GQ Magazine, stated, “He paid $44 billion to dominate your attention and determine what you see. He knows he can manipulate his personal platform to be in a position powerful enough to crown kings, pick presidents, and help produce whatever personal or political outcome he wants.”
What is Twitter’s next move in DMs?
Despite Musk’s explosive statement about Twitter DMs, the company is apparently embracing DM encryption.
k lets try this again
encrypted DMs are almost here!!!! pic.twitter.com/G9ws8EDoTj
— Andrea Conway (@ehikian) April 14, 2023
These screenshots show how encrypted messages will function in the popular social media app.
According to Twitter designer Andrea Conway, users will soon be able to turn on DM encryption within the app by using a slider. This feature will provide additional privacy protection for chats.
Additionally, users will be able to access the specific cryptographic key for each encrypted chat, which will give them more insight into the security coding for each conversation. And another means to ensure the chat remains between the sender and the recipient.
Furthermore, users will receive a notification in their chats to confirm that encryption is enabled, providing them with even more peace of mind.