Amongst a ton of product changes to make Twitter a more attractive platform, Elon Musk has mentioned multiple times his desire to make direct messages better and more secure. So much so that he wants DMs to "superset Signal" — the encrypted messaging app.
Over the weekend, Musk said that the end-to-end encrypted DM feature will roll out this month. Along with that, users will also get the ability to reply to individual messages and use any reaction emoji. "Aiming to roll out ability to reply to individual DMs, use any reaction emoji & encryption later this month," Musk wrote. Currently, users can only choose among seven emojis as reactions.
Aiming to roll out ability to reply to individual DMs, use any reaction emoji & encryption later this month
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 5, 2023
End-to-end encryption protection means that no one, including Twitter, will be able to read your chats (except the recipients of your messages). Several other apps and messaging protocols like WhatsApp, Signal and iMessage already use this kind of encryption. Currently, Twitter employees can potentially read the content of direct messages on the platform. It's not clear at the moment if the encryption will be available for both individual and group chats. Similarly, it's unclear whether end-to-end encryption will be enabled by default or will be an opt-in feature.
Encrypted DMs are not exactly a new project. Twitter started working on them back in 2018 but abandoned its efforts later. Last year, app researcher Jane Manchun Wong discovered new code suggesting that the social network has resumed its work on the feature under the new management.
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) November 16, 2022
What's more, Twitter designer Andrea Conway also showed off a concept in February, which indicated that DMs will have a banner at the top of a conversation to indicate that it is protected through end-to-end encryption.
Other new functions are just part of Twitter trying to achieve feature parity with chat apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. The Meta-owned app expanded its emoji reaction feature last year and Telegram pushed custom reactions behind a paywall.