Good news for encryption fans, as Twitter plans to introduce full message encryption this month, along with the ability to reply to individual DMs in a chain and use any emoji as a reaction instead of the seven presets.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk outlined the new timeframe for DM updates over the weekend, confirming previous reports of Twitter’s DM options evolving.
The biggest update here is encrypted DMs, which would bring Twitter more in line with Meta and other messaging apps to give users more privacy.
As you can see in this example posted by Twitter designer Andrea Conway, once encryption is enabled in your Twitter DMs, you’ll see a notification in your chat thread that “Messages and calls end-to -end encryption are secured”.
This means that nobody but the chat participants can see the content of these discussions, which offers more security and privacy, but could also allow criminal activities since not even governments or legal authorities are able to bypass the encryption.
This was a major concern about Meta’s push to enable encryption for all of its messaging products, but despite opposition, Meta is going ahead with that plan, and Twitter looks set to follow suit soon.
The ability to reply to a single DM, meanwhile, will make it easier to engage in more specific conversations rather than adding another reply to the broader thread.
This example shows how the process will work, where users can long press on any DM to respond to it directly.
And finally, there is the option to reply to a message with any emoji as a reaction.
As you can see here, the process allows you to tap the three-dot menu and choose any emoji as your reaction. Twitter is also considering an option that would allow users to personalize their default response phrase, but it’s not clear if that will be part of that first, planned release.
Any of these updates could be interesting, and the move to automatic encryption is a significant move that Musk has been announcing for a while. But at the same time, they’re also relatively small in terms of improving user experience, which probably won’t make them a significant driver of interest or adoption.
However, it’s unclear how Twitter is going about this. In the weeks after he took charge of the app, Elon had repeatedly noticed Twitter usage hitting record highs, but since December those updates have died down, and some reports suggest Twitter usage has dropped after that initial hype -Thrust has decreased significantly.
Twitter is also reportedly struggling to bring in ad dollars, with a new Wall Street Journal report suggesting that 70 of the platform’s top 100 advertisers have not resumed spending on the platform at the same levels following Musk’s acquisition of the app. Overall, Twitter revenue is reportedly down 40% year over year — which would explain why the company is still trying to cut costs wherever possible, including further staff cuts, despite Musk previously promising that the job cuts be finished.
In this context, I don’t really see DM adjustments having much impact. If they were offered as a Twitter Blue exclusive, maybe that could lead to more adoption—but then again, Twitter Blue contributes only a fraction of Twitter’s total revenue, at least for now.
In summary, these are interesting tweaks that will be very relevant to some users, but are unlikely to move the pinprick in increasing sales or adoption. Which they probably aren’t designed for, but it’s interesting to see how Twitter focuses on such elements amidst its various larger concerns.