London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

Twitter launches encrypted private messages, says Elon Musk

Twitter launches encrypted private messages, says Elon Musk

Twitter has become the latest social media platform to launch an encrypted messaging service.

Direct messages sent on Twitter will be end-to-end encrypted - this means private messages can only be read by the sender and the recipient.

Chief executive Elon Musk said it meant he could not see users' messages "even if there was a gun to my head".

But he warned that this is an early version, and people should "try it, but don't trust it yet".

The feature is not yet open to everyone, and can only be used by people who pay for Twitter Blue or are affiliated to a verified Twitter account.

It is also not yet possible to send media in the messages - users can only send text and links.

In a post on its support site, Twitter said it was "not quite there yet" with encryption.

"While messages themselves are encrypted, metadata (recipient, creation time, etc) are not, and neither is any linked content," it said.

"If someone - for example, a malicious insider, or Twitter itself as a result of a compulsory legal process - were to compromise an encrypted conversation, neither the sender or receiver would know."


Online Safety Bill criticised


When he bought Twitter in 2022, Mr Musk hinted at plans to turn it into a "super-app" with multiple functions. In China the super-app WeChat can be used for everything from social media and ordering food to payments and messaging, but there is not really a comparable platform in the West.

Since then he has made a number of dramatic changes to the social network, including the introduction of a subscription service, and the removal of old blue tick badges, previously used by Twitter as a tool in the fight against the spread of disinformation.

Many Twitter users have called for its private messaging service to be made more secure for a long time. However, Mr Musk's timing could prove awkward for him in the UK, where the government's Online Safety Bill will introduce new requirements for social media companies, which it says will help to protect children from abuse.

Messaging platforms WhatsApp and Signal have both criticised this part of the Online Safety Bill, currently near the end of its journey through Parliament.

In April, they said they were concerned the legislation could undermine end-to-end encryption, which is considered by privacy campaigners and activists to be an invaluable tool.

They were two of several messaging services whose heads signed a letter calling for a rethink, saying the bill, in its current form, opens the door to "routine, general and indiscriminate surveillance" of personal messages.

Facebook's parent company Meta has introduced encryption to its Messenger platform with some exceptions, including Marketplace chats.

Mr Musk said he expected encrypted messaging on Twitter "to grow in sophistication rapidly".

Cyber-security expert Jake Moore, from ESET, said Twitter was responding to demand from privacy-conscious users.

"Without the use of end-to-end encrypted messaging, Twitter staff and the company itself have the opportunity to read people's messages," he told the BBC.

"Although this can reap huge rewards for the platform, with advertisers being able to micro-target users, it is a huge security risk to those messaging without such privacy protection."


A Home Office spokesperson told the BBC: "The Online Safety Bill applies to all platforms, regardless of their design and functionality. Therefore, end-to-end encrypted services are in scope and will be required to meet their duties of care to users.

"We have made clear that companies should only implement end-to-end encryption if they can simultaneously uphold public safety. We continue to work with the tech industry to collaborate on mutually agreeable solutions that protect public safety without compromising security."

Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
0:00
0:00
Close
Britain’s Refugee Visa Rules Stranding Children in War Zones
UK Elections Predict ‘Electoral Extinction’ for PM Sunak’s Conservative Party
Italian Activist Ilaria Salis Returns Home After Election to European Parliament
Good morning!
England Faces Serbia in Euro Opener with Defensive Concerns
Dermatologist Warns Against Sunbed Usage
Fake Pro-Reform UK Social Accounts and Their Influence on Elections
UK Man Jailed for Non-Consensual Condom Removal
Reform UK Surpasses Conservatives in Historic Poll
US, Britain, Canada Accuse Russia of Interference in Moldova’s Election
Taylor Swift Fans Create Seismic Activity in Edinburgh
Sunak Aide Under Investigation for Election Bet
Labour Leader Starmer Focuses on Wealth Creation for Upcoming UK Elections
G7 to Use Frozen Russian Assets for $50 Billion Ukraine Aid
Anti-Israel Irish MEP Clare Daly LOST her seat in the EU Election
Johnson & Johnson Settles Talc Safety Claims for $700 Million
EU Urged to Welcome Skilled Russians to Weaken Putin
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Israel Rescues Four Hostages from Gaza
Emmanuel Macron Calls for Snap Election
Jordan Bardella: Young Far-Right Leader Poised for Future Political Influence in France
World's Oldest Privately Owned Book Auctioned for $3.8 Million
Animal Rights Activists Deface King Charles' Portrait in Protest
Dutch Military Intel Uncovers Extensive Chinese Cyber Espionage
Turkish Student Arrested for Using AI to Cheat in University Exam
Rise in Dengue and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Europe Due to Climate Change
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Far-Right National Rally Dominates France's EU Vote
Macron Calls Snap Legislative Elections After Far-Right Victory
Far-Right Gains Significantly in EU Election
UK Job Market Shows Signs of Recovery
Orban’s Fidesz Party Wins Majority in Hungary’s EU Elections as New Challenger Emerges
Meloni's Far-Right Party Wins European Elections in Italy
Key Insights from the European Union Elections
European Union Elections and Rise of Far-Right Parties
England Loses Over 260,000 Social Rent Homes in a Decade
Campaigners Urge Government to Block Shein's FTSE Listing
First NHS AI-Run Physiotherapy Clinic Launches This Year
British TV Presenter Michael Mosley Found Dead on Greek Island
Ukrainian Forces Claims First Strike on Russia's Su-57 Fighter Jet
Macron Dissolves Parliament and Calls Snap Elections
Russia Adds Yulia Tymoshenko to Wanted List
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron Tricked by Hoax Caller Posing as Former Ukrainian President
Kate Middleton's Absence from Colonel's Review Due to Chemotherapy
UK Foreign Secretary Deceived by Prank Video Call
Sunak Criticised Over D-Day Exit in BBC Debate
Rishi Sunak Apologizes for Leaving D-Day Commemoration Early
UK Woman Sentenced After Causing Fatal Crash While Sending Selfies
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen Assaulted in Central Copenhagen
UN to Add Israel to Human Rights Blacklist
×