Twitter is finally rolling out encrypted direct messages (DMs) for its paid subscribers, as part of the Twitter Blue package. Unlike WhatsApp, Messenger, and Signal, among other messaging apps which offer encrypted messaging for free, users will have to pay for this feature on Twitter.
The rollout of Twitter’s encrypted DMs was announced by the social network’s owner and CEO Elon Musk in a tweet saying, “With the latest version of the app, you can DM reply to any message in the thread (not just most recent) and use any emoji reaction.”
“Release of encrypted DMs V1.0 should happen tomorrow. This will grow in sophistication rapidly. The acid test is that I could not see your DMs even if there was a gun to my head.” Musk added.
Meanwhile, Musk also said that voice and video calls will be added soon to his social network so users can “talk to people anywhere in the world” without giving them a phone number.
“Coming soon will be voice and video chat from your handle to anyone on this platform, so you can talk to people anywhere in the world without giving them your phone number,” Musk tweeted.
According to a new section on Twitter’s Help Site, for a user to be able to send and receive encrypted messages, they will have to be verified, which means they must pay for Twitter Blue, the company’s paid verification service which currently costs $8 (approx. UGX30,000) through the web or $11 (approx. UGX41,000) in-app. Verified organizations can also access the feature, but they have to pay $1,000 (approx. UGX3.7 million) per month. An affiliate of a verified organization can access the feature for $50 per month.
Furthermore, both the sender and recipient must be on the latest version of the Twitter app, and recipients must follow the sender, have sent a message to the sender in the past, or accept a DM request from the sender at some point. If the recipient is eligible, the sender will see a lock toggle while drafting a message. In an encrypted conversation, a small lock icon will appear next to the recipient’s avatar.
It should however be noted that encrypted DMs have some limitations. According to the company, currently, users can only send them in one-on-one conversations but Twitter plans to soon expand this feature to group conversations as well. Additionally, with this new functionality, users can only send text and links at the moment.
The social site has also warned that at the moment it does not have protections against man-in-the-middle attacks, which means, in case someone were to compromise an encrypted conversation, neither the sender nor the recipient would know.
“As Elon Musk said, when it comes to Direct Messages, the standard should be, if someone puts a gun to our heads, we still can’t access your messages.” said Twitter on its Help Center page before then acknowledging that “We’re not quite there yet, but we’re working on it,”