Twitter Starts Rolling Out Encrypted Direct Messages
Encryption for messaging services is getting more and more common, but it’s still not something that is universal just yet. Twitter is one example, which didn’t have end-to-end encryption for its direct messages. Until recently, that is, as the company has started rolling out the feature.
That being said, there are a few conditions that must be met before Twitter users can start enjoying this privacy feature. One is to naturally be running the latest version of the app, be it on Android, iOS, or even just the web. Secondly, the recipient of the encrypted direct message must also be following the sender, or has at least accepted a DM request from the sender, if not previously sent a message to the sender prior.
The last one is the real kicker. To be able to send and receive encrypted DMs, both the sender and recipient must be verified users or affiliated to a verified organisation. While this may be the case for its current early access phase, it remains to be seen if it will stay this way, or if Twitter will open up encrypted DMs to regular users of the bird app as well.
In action, if you are eligible to send encrypted DMs, you should see a toggle for this on the Messages screen, after which a list of eligible recipients will appear. Alternatively, if you’re already texting someone eligible, you’ll be able to toggle encrypted messages from there. Encrypted messages also appear as a separate message thread from your regular DMs.
Beyond having to pay for it, there are a couple of other caveats to using encrypted DMs on Twitter. One is that group chats are not supported yet. Another is that only text and links can be sent as encrypted messages for now. But likely the biggest issue is that in its current form, the bird platform’s encryption doesn’t prevent man-in-the-middle attacks. In other words, someone within the company can still look at your encrypted DMs without the sender or recipient knowing. The company claims to be working on making this “difficult, if not impossible”.
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