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Twitter Blue relaunch might not happen, but encrypted DMs are a top priority

Updated Dec 8th, 2022 11:48AM EST
Twitter owner Elon Musk
Image: STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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Musk held a company meeting on Monday, covering various high-priority topics with those employees that remain at Twitter. Among other things, Musk said that the Twitter Blue subscription service might not launch soon, despite saying recently that it’s coming back on November 29th. The CEO also dropped good news about end-to-end encrypted Direct Messages (DMs), explaining that Signal CEO is willing to help Twitter roll out the feature.

In other words, the Twitter mess continues as Elon Musk grapples with various issues he himself caused.

The paid Twitter Blue subscription is probably the biggest mishap under Musk’s short tenure. And the CEO might have impacted Twitter’s ability to function following a few rounds of firings. Not to mention the departures that followed his mandate for a “hardcore” work style.

Twitter Blue might not relaunch next week

The Verge obtained a recording of Musk’s comments during Monday’s meeting. Referring to the planned Twitter Blue rollout, the exec said Twitter Blue isn’t coming back until “we’re confident about significant impersonations not happening.”

It’s unclear how Twitter would even prevent impersonators from abusing the feature. That happened a few days ago when Twitter first rolled out Blue on iPhone. The company had to pull the in-app purchase a day later, as many people impersonated celebrities and companies by purchasing the blue checkmark.

Previously, you’d get the marker following a verification process. Regular Twitter users unaware of Musk’s Twitter chaos might not have known that Twitter Blue gets you the same checkmark without verification.

Musk told employees that Twitter Blue might not make the November 29th rerelease. “We might launch it next week. We might not. But we’re not going to launch until there’s high confidence in protecting against those significant impersonations.”

Musk also said that Twitter will “probably” need to give “institutions and companies” a “different color check.” That sure looks like it’ll bring more confusion to the experience. The exec still maintained his belief that any social platform has to implement some payment barrier to fight bots and trolls.

Twitter office sign
Twitter headquarters stands on Market Street on November 4, 2022, in San Francisco, California. Image source: David Odisho/Getty Images

Twitter DMs getting end-to-end encryption soon

Musk didn’t talk only about the Twitter Blue mess during his meeting on Monday. According to the same recordings, the CEO said his Twitter 2.0 vision includes support for end-to-end encrypted DMs.

Twitter had been working on and off the functionality for years before Musk took over. But the CEO confirmed over Twitter a few days ago that strong chat encryption is coming to the app.

“We want to enable users to be able to communicate without being concerned about their privacy, [or] without being concerned about a data breach at Twitter causing all of their DMs to hit the web, or think that maybe someone at Twitter could be spying on their DMs,” Musk said. “That’s obviously not going to be cool and it has happened a few times before.”

“It should be the case that I can’t look at anyone’s DMs if somebody has put a gun to my head,” he added.

It’s unclear at this point how long it’ll take Twitter to enable end-to-end encryption on DMs. Or whether it’s possible to launch the sophisticated feature ahead of the Twitter Blue reboot.

Musk said he talked to Signal creator Moxie Marlinspike who is “potentially willing to help out.”

“Ironically, Moxie Marlinspike worked at Twitter and actually wanted to do encrypted DMs several years ago, [but] was denied that and then went and created Signal,” Musk added.

Finally, Musk said he wanted to add voice and video support to DMs.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.