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It’s official: Twitter encrypted DM is here — but you have to pay for it though you can get it for free on other platforms.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk recently revealed that the company would be releasing encrypted DMs this week, noting that “the acid test is that I could not see your DMs even if there was a gun to my head.” The plan seems to be a good move for Twitter, especially these days as different privacy issues continue to negatively affect its reputation. However, a support document explaining the feature clearly stresses that users must pay to access this precious encrypted messaging feature on the platform.
According to Twitter, “both sender and recipient are verified users or affiliates to a verified organization” to fully experience the feature. That means for regular users to have it, they have to get the Twitter Blue verification, which costs $8/month or $84/year. For organizations, it means $1,000/month, while the affiliates of a verified organization translate to $50/month per person.
There are also other conditions that have to be met for encrypted DMs to work, Twitter detailed. Specifically, that includes the latest version of the Twitter app and “the recipient follows sender, or has sent a message to sender previously, or has accepted a Direct Message request from the sender before.”
Eligible users of the feature will have a lock toggle button, while recipients who can receive them will have lock icons on their avatar pictures. Unfortunately, this will only be available for a one-on-one conversation with another user and is also limited to sending links and texts. Yet, the company promised to develop the feature over time and bring it to groups, though it might also mean everyone within that thread would have to be paying Twitter customers. On the other hand, though this feature is part of the perks of being a paying user, it still doesn’t mean complete protection.
“Currently, we do not offer protections against man-in-the-middle attacks,” the document explains. “As a result, if someone–for example, a malicious insider, or Twitter itself as a result of a compulsory legal process–were to compromise an encrypted conversation, neither the sender or receiver would know.”
To ease concerns about this, nonetheless, the company stressed that it has plans to deliver solutions in the future to allow users to verify different elements of the messages, including the content origin and authenticity and devices. The company reiterated the standard mentioned by Musk himself in his recent tweet, adding, “We’re not quite there yet, but we’re working on it.” And it is true: there are still lots of things that the company would have to address to perfect the feature. Yet, it is hard to think how encrypted DMs will significantly help the company boost its image, given that the same feature is available on other platforms without paying anything. We understand Musk wants to turn Twitter into a money-generating machine, but pushing people to pay for things they should have been getting for free in return for trusting your platform for their data might sound slightly disappointing.