Twitter Inc.’s (TWTR) new owner Elon Musk has called for end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for direct messages (DM) on the microblogging platform. Musk made the suggestion on Thursday, just days after he officially acquired Twitter for an estimated $44 billion.
According to the business magnate, the implementation of end-to-end encryption would add a layer of protection to Twitter DMs, making it impossible for anyone to hack or spy on private messages.
End-to-End Encryption for Twitter DMs
“Twitter DMs should have end-to-end encryption like Signal, so no one can spy on or hack your messages,” Musk tweeted on Thursday.
The implementation of end-to-end encryption on Twitter would certainly be welcomed by its hundreds of millions of users as this increases privacy and reduces the risk of cyberattacks. It may also address some of the compliance issues the company has had with European authorities.
Twitter has been the target of multiple cyberattacks over the years, including a Bitcoin scam in 2020 that saw criminals hack the accounts of multiple public figures. Also, in 2020, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) fined the social media platform €450,000 for failing to meet its data protection regulations.
Elon Musk’s Twitter Acquisition
Twitter announced that it reached a definitive acquisition agreement with Musk on Monday. The deal, which is worth approximately $44 billion, comes down to $54.20 per share.
“The Twitter Board has reached an agreement with @ElonMusk,” a tweet by Twitter chairman Bret Taylor said.
The acquisition deal is pending regulatory approval. It is expected to be completed within six months, after which Twitter will become a privately-held company.
Musk has been a vocal critic of Twitter’s moderation policies. After the announcement of his successful bid to take over the company, Musk, in a series of tweets, emphasized that his goal is to protect free speech.
“For Twitter to deserve public trust, it must be politically neutral, which effectively means upsetting the far right and the far left equally,” he tweeted.
According to Musk, freedom of speech on Twitter is crucial to have a functioning democracy in the US and other countries across the world. “The civilizational risk is decreased the more we can increase the trust of Twitter as a public platform,” Musk said during an interview at TED 2022.
“Twitter has become kind of the de facto town square, so it’s really important that people have both the reality and the perception that they can speak freely within the bounds of the law,” he explained.
Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey appears to be happy with Musk’s takeover of the company. “Twitter as a company has always been my sole issue and my biggest regret. It has been owned by Wall Street and the ad model. Taking it back from Wall Street is the correct first step,” Dorsey tweeted.
“Elon is the singular solution I trust,” he added.
Whether Musk plans to address the rampant misinformation, harassment, and spread of harmful content on Twitter remains to be seen.
On Thursday, in the wake of the monumental deal, Twitter revealed that its revenue climbed to $1.2 billion in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 16% year-over-year.
The company’s quarterly report also showed that its monetizable daily active users rose to 299 million, a 15.9% growth from the first quarter of 2021.
What is End-to-End Encryption?
Encryption is fundamental for keeping data safe online, and end-to-end encryption is particularly important for upholding user privacy on messaging platforms. End-to-encryption secures user data during transit by enciphering it. This prevents unauthorized third parties from gaining access to or decoding it.