Last week, Twitter owner Elon Musk talked about plans to add encrypted direct messages (DMs) to Twitter as part of his ‘Twitter 2.0’ vision. Additionally, Musk mentioned the creator of the encrypted chat app Signal might be on board to help. Now, code spotted in the Twitter iOS app includes references to the Signal protocol.
Spotted by Jane Manchun Wong, who has a track record for finding in-development features in social media apps, the code strongly suggests Twitter will use the Signal protocol for encrypted DMs. As an aside, it appears Wong’s Twitter account was removed or deleted after posting these details — it’s not clear why.
End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is a fairly common feature of messaging platforms. For those unfamiliar with it, E2EE means that only participants in a given chat have the encryption key and can view the messages. Currently, Twitter DMs use a weaker form of encryption, which means Twitter holds the keys, and technically anyone at the company with access could read DMs.
Should Twitter adopt E2EE, it will make DMs significantly more secure. Moreover, using the Signal protocol will add some trust to encrypted Twitter DMs, given the protocol is the basis for E2EE in both the Signal app and WhatsApp. Of course, it’s likely still early days for the development of the feature, and it’s not clear how long it’ll take to roll out.