Musk Announces Twitter DM Change With Notable 'Acid Test'

He won't be able to see others' encrypted messages, 'even if there was a gun to my head'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2023 6:47 AM CDT
Musk Promises Twitter DMs Even He Won't Be Able to See
Elon Musk, left, sits with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott at a ceremony for Tesla's lithium refining facility in Robstown, Texas, on Monday.   (Angela Piazza/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP)

Elon Musk says users of his social media platform will very soon be able to send private direct messages to each other that no one else can ever see—including Musk himself. In a Tuesday evening tweet, the Twitter CEO announced the launch of encrypted DMs, a feature that could arrive as soon as Wednesday. Musk proposed a dramatic gauge to ensure the encryption was working. "The acid test is that I could not see your DMs even if there was a gun to my head," he wrote.

Musk also noted that when the next iteration of the app comes out, other DM enhancements will include being able to respond "to any message in the thread (not just most recent) and use any emoji reaction." Currently, users can only respond to the most recent message in a DM thread, and a limited number of emojis are available for them to react with within those messages, per CNBC. Musk added that these newest DM perks "will grow in sophistication rapidly."

Other social media and messaging platforms have also waded into encryption waters. Facebook owner Meta said earlier this year that it's doing more testing for encryption on its Messenger, while another messaging app it owns, WhatsApp, has boasted end-to-end encryption for years. In the same Tuesday tweet, Musk wrote that voice and video chat will also "soon" be arriving, so that users can "talk to people anywhere in the world without giving them your phone number."

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Per Reuters, this latest announcement syncs with Musk's plan for "Twitter 2.0—the Everything App" that he promoted last year, which he hoped would include not only encrypted DMs, but also much longer tweets, payments, and "advertising as entertainment," Mashable noted at the time. Of course, what "soon" means in Musk-speak is anyone's guess: CNBC notes that "features Musk promises are not always introduced on time" on Twitter. (More Twitter stories.)

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