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Rumor: Twitter Is Testing An Encrypted Messaging Feature

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Twitter’s newest feature is end-to-end encryption for direct messages, something a number of users have been requesting for a long time. The feature shows up in the latest Twitter APK, indicating imminent rollout.   ( Diptendu Dutta | AFP/Getty Images )

Twitter might borrow a feature from popular messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Skype. With companies such as Facebook, Google, and Signal all offering encrypted messaging in some form or another, Twitter has often seemed oblivious to the importance of secure chat.

Famed CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden has even called on the company to include the feature — but no dice. Until now, that is.

Twitter To Introduce End-To-End Encryption

Twitter might finally add encrypted messaging. As TechCrunch reports, the feature has appeared on the latest Twitter APK for Android, indicating it's launching soon. It was first spotted by Twitter user Jane Manchun Wong.

End-to-end encrypted direct messages appear 18 months after Snowden asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to include the feature, to which the CEO responded by saying it was "reasonable and something we'll think about."

The Twitter APK shows options to learn more about encrypted messaging, starting a secret conversation, and viewing encryption keys from sender and receiver to verify that they're communicating under a secure connection. "Encryption," for the uninitiated, is just a fancy term for "secure." Implemented into messaging, it means no other party will see the messages exchanged between two users. Not even Twitter.

Twitter's DM feature has become a useful way of contacting strangers without acquiring their email address or phone number. It's a quick way for journalists to communicate with sources privately, for instance. Without encryption, those messages are still subject to potential snooping by either the company, Twitter, or worse, the government. That's probably why Snowden, a champion of data privacy, wants Twitter to implement encryption.

Twitter has long maintained a reputation for being a unique platform for politics, uprisings, breaking news, or plain discourse, but without encryption, individuals risk exposing themselves to external parties, especially if they participate in political activities or advocate for various causes. Until Twitter introduces the feature, those folks should be using apps such as Signal, which offers a pretty robust end-to-end encryption. Launching more secure DMs could make Twitter the ultimate messaging platform.

Twitter Encryption Launch Date

It's not clear when Twitter plans to launch the feature, and it should be noted that plans always change. A spokesperson for the company has declined to comment. Take note that APKs usually contain code for unlaunched features that companies are secretly testing or will soon roll out, so it's highly likely encryption will indeed be part of Twitter going forward.

Is end-to-end encryption on Twitter important for you? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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