If you often send direct messages to other Twitter users but worry about the security and privacy of the system, then here’s some good news: the microblogging site could be planning to introduce an end-to-end encrypted DM feature.
TechCrunch reports that Jane Wong, a computer science student at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, first spotted the option, which is called “Secret conversation,” inside the Twitter for Android application package (APK).
Twitter is working on End-to-End Encrypted Secret DM! pic.twitter.com/2lLr5i1p42
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) 4 May 2018
Showing up in the APK does suggest that Twitter is getting ready to add the feature, which would bring it in line with WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram, though we still don’t know how long it might be before it’s officially launched. A spokesperson for the company declined to comment on the matter.
Wong’s screenshot shows options to start a secret conversation, learn more about encrypted messages, and view the encryption keys for you and the recipient to verify that the communication is secure.
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!
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) 13 December 2016
Back in December 2016, famed whistleblower Edward Snowden asked Jack Dorsey about the possibility of end-to-end encryption being added as a feature, to which the Twitter CEO replied, “reasonable and something we’ll think about.” It’s taken a while, but it seems that Snowden’s request will soon be granted. Dorsey hinted that the encryption was on its way by responding to TechCrunch’s article with a whisper emoji.
— jack (@jack) 8 May 2018
Twitter is popular among journalists, whistleblowers, and political dissidents, so adding an encrypted messages feature is a natural evolution for the site. But with countries such as Russia and Iran banning encrypted messaging services, such an option would likely see more locations clamp down on Twitter, which is already banned in Iran and China.