The leading social media is facing challenges in terms of privacy and data theft of personal information. From the Yahoo & Equinox data theft to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the data breach has stunned the world. The personal information has been shared inappropriately with the world, but social media firms have been making sure that personal messages should not be leaked or read by the third party or the service providers itself. WhatsApp, the messaging application provider has provided end to end encryption and ensures that the company will not have access to the communication. Similarly, Signal and Telegram have implemented the encryption for their platforms. Twitter also has the feature of the encrypted messaging, which if launched would make the social media platform a better home for communication. The encrypted direct messages will make Twitter a platform for sensitive communication.
Twitter’s direct messages feature enables users to send messages regardless of whether users follow each other on the platform. Without establishing a connection beforehand, Twitter users can exchange messages. Twitter’s DM became immensely popular as it enabled people to send messages without their phone numbers or email addresses. If it is about sending a story to a reporter, discuss business opportunities, or flirting, Twitter DM came to everyone’s rescue. But without enabling the encryption, those messages were subjected to prying from hackers, governments, and Twitter itself.
Encryption enables users with correct passcode have access to messages. Jane Manchun Wong discovered the secret feature inside Twitter for Android Application Package (APK). APKs contain a code of unlaunched features which companies have been testing quietly, as reported by Techcrunch. It is unclear how much time the firm will take before launching it officially. Wong revealed her discovery through a tweet on Thursday, stating, “Twitter is working on End-to-End Encrypted Secret DM!” She also posted a screenshot of the feature with the tweet. The Twitter spokesperson has declined to comment on the matter.
In December 2016, the whistleblower Edward Snowden asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey about the encrypted messaging feature. He tweeted, “One more ask, @Jack: how about secret, burn-after-reading DMs? Even if E2E encryption won’t work by default in all clients, give us a start!” To this question, Twitter responded with a tweet, “reasonable and something we’ll think about”.
The microblogging platform had thought about it and prototyped the feature now. There are various options including learning more about encrypted messaging, starting a secret conversation, and viewing your own and conversation partner’s encryption keys to determine if it is a secure connection.
This new feature will help in establishing the reputation of the platform up to some extent. After losing much of a reputation due to inability to prevent fake news and hate speech from spreading, Twitter has been thinking about deploying new ways to regain it. This move is one of those moves. Moreover, this would bring back some of the whistleblowers and changemakers to use the platform for many activities secretly.