The new owner of Twitter, Elon Musk, is planning to add a range of features to the platform over the next year, according to details from a meeting with employees obtained by the Verge.
The plans include features that have long been in the arsenal of competing tech giants like Facebook, Apple, and Google, including encrypted chat, video chat, and voice messaging. A slideshow detailing Musk’s roadmap dubbed the plan “Twitter 2.0”
Twitter’s lack of encrypted DMs make it one of the most insecure places to send private messages, a fact that has led to security breaches in the past.
Via the Verge:
“We want to enable users to be able to communicate without being concerned about their privacy, [or] without being concerned about a data breach at Twitter causing all of their DMs to hit the web, or think that maybe someone at Twitter could be spying on their DMs,” Musk said. “That’s obviously not going to be cool and it has happened a few times before.”
Musk is right about DMs being exposed before. In 2018, Twitter warned that an undisclosed number of DMs between businesses and their customers had been accessible by outsiders for over a year. And earlier this year, the US government charged an ex-employee with improperly accessing user data on behalf of Saudi Arabia, though it’s unclear how DMs were or weren’t used.
If Musk succeeds in rolling out these features — some of which have been attempted before, while Twitter had far more employees on hand — it will represent a major competitor to products offered by other big tech platforms, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Apple’s iMessage.
According to the Verge, in his remarks to employees Musk claimed that Moxie Marlinspike, the creator of Signal, one of the leading providers of encrypted messaging, is “potentially willing to help out” Twitter’s efforts.
However, in a comment to Ars Technica, Signal president and notorious leftist Meredith Whittaker stressed that Signal was not currently working with Twitter.
“Signal has not been working with Twitter on this effort,” said Whittaker. “We do believe that more private communications are a net good, and we are interested to see how Twitter tackles the complexity of creating usable, encrypted DMs across the web and mobile.”