Twitter Announces Encrypted Messaging, Voice and Video Calls, and Per-Article Subscriptions

Twitter CEO Elon Musk has announced several new features for the social media platform, including encrypted messaging, voice and video calls, and the ability for media publishers to charge users on a per-article basis.

These changes are part of Musk’s plan to revitalize Twitter, which has struggled to maintain its user base since his acquisition of the company in October 2022.

Encrypted Messaging and Communication Capabilities

Musk revealed that the first version of encrypted messaging would be released soon, followed by voice and video chat features.

These additions would allow users to communicate securely without having to share their phone numbers.

However, the implementation timeline for these features remains uncertain, as Musk has a history of making big promises on tight deadlines and not delivering on time.

In the meantime, Twitter has made some changes to in-app messaging, allowing users to reply to individual direct messages and react to messages with emojis. These updates have been verified on the iOS Twitter app, with the same capabilities expected to be available on the web version soon.

Rumors of encrypted messaging on Twitter have been circulating for years, with the platform reportedly testing the feature in 2018, but it never materialized. Interestingly, Signal, a popular encrypted messaging app, was co-founded by former Twitter employee Moxie Marlinspike, who left the company after they showed no interest in his privacy project.

These changes are part of Musk’s plan to revitalize Twitter, which has struggled to maintain its user base since his acquisition of the company in October 2022.

Per-Article Subscriptions for Media Publishers

Musk also announced that Twitter will allow media publishers to charge users on a per-article basis, enabling users to access occasional articles without committing to a monthly subscription. The feature is expected to roll out in May, and Twitter will take a 10% cut on content subscriptions after the first year. For the first 12 months, the company will not take any cut from these subscriptions, which include long-form text and hours-long video content.

Since acquiring Twitter, Musk has been implementing changes to increase revenue, following a drop in advertising income last year. However, these changes have come at a cost, with the workforce being reduced from 7,500 to approximately 1,500, raising concerns about the platform’s moderation standards and ability to comply with upcoming European regulations.

Upcoming European Regulatory Challenges

Twitter has been warned that it may not be ready for the new European Union regulatory regime for monitoring digital platforms, which mandates annual risk assessments outlining risks associated with harmful content, such as disinformation, misogyny, and election manipulation. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in fines amounting to 6% of the company’s global turnover or a temporary suspension of the service in extreme cases.

Under these rules, platforms are also required to protect the privacy and safety of child users, preventing the creation of profiles for targeted ads and implementing measures to protect minors. Users must be able to report illegal content easily.

With these new features and regulatory challenges, it remains to be seen if Musk’s vision for Twitter as an “everything app” can be realized while maintaining the platform’s user base and adhering to global standards.

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