Twitter takes on WhatsApp: Elon Musk plans to encrypt direct messages

Your morning Twitter video call could soon be underway, if new CEO Elon Musk is on his way.

In a meeting with employees at Twitter’s corporate headquarters in San Francisco on Monday, Musk outlined several features he wants to bring to Twitter going forward, according to The Verge.

This includes end-to-end encryption for direct messages (DMs) — a feature already present on chat apps WhatsApp and Signal — as well as voice and video calls.

End-to-end encryption ensures that only messages are read between participants, and no one in between — not even the company that owns the service.

Furthermore, the icon in the Twitter app indicates that Twitter is already working on encrypted messages.

Twit looked a lot like WhatsApp: Musk plans to bring end-to-end encryption to Twitter direct messages (DMs)

Elon Musk, who took control of Twitter after its $44 billion purchase, wants to make crypto rollout a priority.

Elon Musk, who took control of Twitter after its $44 billion purchase, wants to make crypto rollout a priority.

What is end-to-end encryption?

End-to-end encryption ensures that only messages are read between participants, and no one in between — not even the company that owns the service.

End-to-end encryption is intended to prevent data from being secretly read or modified while it is in transit between the two parties.

The encryption keys needed to access the service are automatically provided to only two people per conversation.

In decrypted form, the messages can be accessed by a third party – making them interceptable by governments for law enforcement reasons.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is already encrypted, and now Mark Zuckerberg is looking to do the same with Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct.

A recording of Musk’s presentation to employees has been obtained and partially transcribed by The Verge.

Musk’s vision for Twitter was shown in a selection of slides in a presentation titled Twitter 2.0, according to staff.

Musk said he wants to make it impossible for hackers to access someone’s direct messages on Twitter, even in the most extreme circumstances.

“It must be the case that I can’t look at anyone’s direct messages if someone puts a gun to my head,” he said.

We want to enable users to be able to communicate without worrying about their privacy, without worrying about a data breach at Twitter causing all their DMs to be on the web, or believing that maybe someone on Twitter is spying on their DMs.

“Obviously, this wouldn’t be great and it has happened many times before.”

Twitter started working on encrypting DMs back in 2018 and even went as far as prototyping them, but the feature never rolled out.

In the same year, Twitter Flaw detection that has made direct messaging available to third parties for over a year.

Now, Musk, who took control of Twitter after its $44 billion purchase, wants to make crypto rollout a priority.

Musk reportedly praised Signal, an app similar to WhatsApp that allows for the encryption of individual or group messages and video calls.

The Twitter CEO said he spoke with Signal’s creator, US security researcher and former Twitter employee Moxie Marlinspike, who is now “willing to help” with encrypting Twitter DMs.

Twitter owner Elon Musk appears to want to make his social networking platform more like WhatsApp (file photo)

Twitter owner Elon Musk appears to want to make his social networking platform more like WhatsApp (file photo)

In a meeting with employees at Twitter's corporate headquarters in San Francisco (pictured) on Monday, Musk outlined several features he plans to bring to Twitter going forward.

In a meeting with employees at Twitter’s corporate headquarters in San Francisco (pictured) on Monday, Musk outlined several features he plans to bring to Twitter going forward.

How can “head of TWIT” Elon Musk change Twitter?

  • Charge a “blue flag”
  • More ads
  • Relaxing content restrictions
  • Make its algorithms open source
  • Eliminate spam bots
  • Cheaper Twitter Blue
  • Edit button for users all over the world
  • Recreate Vine and integrate it with Twitter

Read more

Like WhatsApp, Signal uses a person’s existing phone number and address book so it doesn’t need logins, usernames, passwords, or Pins, but Musk wants Twitter to host calls without having to use a phone number.

According to Hong Kong-based app researcher Jin Manchun Wong, Twitter is already working on encrypted messaging.

In a recent tweet, Wong posted a screenshot of a Twitter icon containing references to encryption keys.

Musk later responded to Wong’s tweet with a winking face emoji.

Musk regularly responds to user questions on Twitter and reveals some of the changes that are being made.

The CEO said there would be “a lot of focus on video in general” and he brought up the idea of ​​video makers getting paid to publish video content, like YouTube.

However, his company will have to work hard to ensure that users stop posting full-length films on the platform to prevent breaches of copyright laws.

Musk has already run a poll on Twitter to see if users would be interested in seeing Vine – the short video platform – come back from the dead.

Of the nearly 5 million votes cast, 69.9 percent voted “yes” to bringing Vine back, though it’s unclear if Musk will actually do so.

According to Hong Kong-based app researcher Jin Manchun Wong, Twitter is already working on encrypted messaging

According to Hong Kong-based app researcher Jin Manchun Wong, Twitter is already working on encrypted messaging

Musk is said to be a fan of Signal, an app similar to WhatsApp that allows encryption of individual or group messages and video calls (file photo)

Musk is said to be a fan of Signal, an app similar to WhatsApp that allows encryption of individual or group messages and video calls (file photo)

Musk also said Twitter would stop including the device the tweet was written on when booming, which he described as a “waste of screen space”.

“Literally no one knows why we’re doing this,” Musk said.

Musk caused controversy this week by reinstating former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account after a poll.

After more than 15 million votes, 51.8 percent voted to allow Trump to restore his account, nearly two years after it was banned following his role in last year’s attack on the US Capitol.

Musk will restore former US President Donald Trump's Twitter account after a poll

Musk will restore former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account after a poll

Trump’s account, @realDonaldTrump, resurfaced on Monday 22 months after it was suspended.

However, Trump has yet to use the account again and has said he will not return.

Trump has already created his own social media platform, called Truth Social, which offers an “uncensored” alternative with a greater focus on freedom of speech.

Best alternatives to WhatsApp

If you are thinking of deleting WhatsApp, you will be happy to hear that there are several alternative apps to choose from:

1. Telegram

With over 400 million users, Telegram is one of the most popular alternatives to WhatsApp.

Although it is very similar to WhatsApp, what sets it apart is the fact that it gives the option to set messages to self-destruct after a certain period of time, leaving no trace.

Telegram also offers end-to-end encryption.

However, as a WhatsApp spokesperson noted, Telegram “doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption by default, so it’s not necessarily more secure than WhatsApp.”

2. The signal

Signal is one of the most secure messaging apps out there, thanks to the fact that it is open source.

This means that the app’s code is publicly available for viewing, making it nearly impossible for the app’s creators to slip in any backdoors that might allow governments or hackers to spy on your messages.

3. iMessage

If you’re using an iPhone, you might consider simply switching to iMessage, which is Apple’s own messaging app.

The app has a number of cool features including no character limits, the ability to send photos and videos, and of course, Apple’s animated emoji feature, Animoji.

Unfortunately, iMessage is only available to iPhone users, so you’ll have a hard time interacting with anyone using Android.

4. Google Messages

Google’s answer to iMessage is Google Messages, which is an Android-only messaging service.

The app replaces your standard SMS app, and integrates with all Google apps and services, making it easy to share photos or use the Google Assistant.

5. Facebook Messenger

If you are put off using WhatsApp due to it sharing data with Facebook, then Facebook Messenger may not be the best option for you.

However, the app offers a number of useful features, including games, secret chats, and video calls.

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