Twitter is apparently working on a new feature for its mobile apps called “Secret Conversations”, which will allow users to send direct messages that are encrypted. The feature was first discovered in Twitter’s APK by Jane Manchung Wong (via TechCrunch), although Twitter is yet to confirm it.
Developers often use APKs to test out new features and it would mean that Twitter will be launching this feature sooner than expected. APKs often contain code for unlaunched features that companies are quietly testing or will soon make available. A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment on the record. It’s unclear how long it might be before Twitter officially launches the feature, but at least we know it’s been built. End-to-end encryption prevents unauthorised access to your data by keeping the conversation secure between the two parties.
Twitter isn’t the first social media company to introduce end-to-end encryption for its messages. Facebook-owned WhatsApp already provides end-to-end encryption. Even Apple’s iMessage service offers end-to-end encryption, making the conversations safe between the two participants.
The Secret Conversations feature had been a request among many Twitter users. Famously, whistleblower Edward Snowden had sent a tweet to CEO Jack Dorsey, asking him if secret DM’s were a possibility. The Twitter chief responded, saying the request was “reasonable, and something we’ll think about.”
Twitter’s DMs have become a powerful way for people to contact strangers without needing their phone number or email address. Whether it’s to send a reporter a scoop, warn someone of a problem, discuss business or just “slide into their DMs” to flirt, Twitter has established one of the most open messaging mediums. But without encryption, those messages are subject to snooping by governments, hackers or Twitter itself.
At the moment, it is unclear when or if the feature will be rolled out. If the information turns out to be true, the tool would provide Twitter users to send sensitive information without any fear.