In an interview on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” on Monday, Twitter CEO Elon Musk revealed that before he took over the social media platform last fall, US and foreign intelligence agencies were granted “full access” to the direct messages of Twitter users.
Musk told Carlson that it blew his mind to learn just how completely government agencies could access “everything that was going on” on the platform.
When Carlson asked if that included accessing users’ direct messages, Musk said it did, explaining that Twitter’s direct messages are not encrypted.
Musk said he is taking steps to create a feature allowing users the option to encrypt direct messages to limit government interference on the platform and hopes to have the feature available later this month.
Musk said when a user selects the encryption option, not even the people working at Twitter “can see what you’re talking about.” He said even if someone put a gun to his head, he wouldn’t be able to access the messages to see what they say.
“That’s how it should be,” Musk added.
Carlson suggested that the new encryption feature would be an effective middle finger to US and foreign intelligence agencies who have for too long relied on Twitter to gather information.
Musk noted that already he has been receiving “indirect complaints” from various government agencies about the changes to direct messages. He joked that he suspects the reason he hasn’t received more direct complaints is that people are “concerned” that he might tweet about it.
He told Carlson that if he got a request from the federal government that was unconstitutional, he would send them a copy of the First Amendment and ask, “What part of this are we getting wrong?”
During Monday’s interview, Musk also discussed his concerns about artificial intelligence as well as his other plans for Twitter.