Following his chat with whistleblower Edward Snowden, Jack Dorsey dropped a hint about what privacy features might be in the cards for Twitter. In the tweeted exchange, Dorsey and Snowden continued the conversation that streamed on Periscope Tuesday, veering back to the topic of Twitter itself.
When Snowden asked if Twitter might consider making the platform’s private messages more secure in some way, Dorsey left the door open for a major security tweak.
Twitter’s possible interest in enhancing the security of its private messaging tools comes at the right time—or a popular time at least. In 2016, many of the major social networks built end-to-end encryption into their messaging platforms. In April, WhatsApp completed its implementation of end-to-end encryption, based off of the increasingly popular Signal Protocol created by Open Whisper Systems.
In May, Google expressed its interest in making end-to-end encryption the default in its Allo messaging app. In July, Facebook even built an option for “secret conversations”—a more user-friendly way to say, yep, end-to-end encryption—into its mobile Messenger apps. And the popularity of the open source encryption protocol that underpins all of those features continues to soar, with Signal itself seeing huge spikes in user activity toward the end of the year and a new app to connect its mobile experience to the desktop.