Twitter is reportedly halting a project that would make the content of private messages more secure, according to a new report from The Verge’s Adrianne Jeffries.
The social media giant is allegedly giving up encrypting private direct messages, which would make it more difficult for hackers and government officials to intercept Twitter messages without the rights to do so.
Twitter is believed to have been working on the direct message encryption system for months, as The New York Times previously reported in October. The move was said to be part of an effort to make it more difficult for the NSA to obtain personal information through social media.
The project was dropped earlier this year without an explanation, according to The Verge, which reports that employees who had been working on the system were confused about the decision.
The move is somewhat of a surprising one for Twitter, considering it has been vocal about privacy concerns in the past. Just last month, Twitter announced it would consider taking legal action against U.S. government if the government doesn’t ease restrictions on the way tech companies are allowed to report NSA requests. The announcement came after the Justice Department agreed to let tech companies report how many user data requests they receive, but only in broad ranges. Twitter said this restriction violated First Amendment rights.
Meanwhile, there’s been a surge in privacy-focused messaging apps like Confide, Wickr, and Glympse. Other startups are trying to build anonymous social networks like Secret and Whisper.
Although Twitter is allegedly shelving this initiative to encrypt personal messages sent through its network, it’s improved security in other areas. Last week the company announced on its blog that it has been encrypting the emails it sends to users since mid-January.
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