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Twitter reportedly looking to build encrypted chat for private conversations

Todd Haselton
  • Twitter is reportedly building encrypted messaging into its app.
  • This would allow users to send secret messages to one another.
  • It suggests Twitter may soon compete with Facebook's WhatsApp, another encrypted messaging service.

Twitter TWTR is building a feature into its app that will allow users to send secret messages to one another, according to data spotted by TechCrunch inside the company's Android application.

Here's why this matters:

It shows that Twitter is taking privacy seriously -- perhaps more so than Facebook, which still doesn't offer encrypted chats in Facebook Messenger. Encryption allows users to message one another without fear that other parties will hack into and read the conversations.

It also suggests that Twitter may soon compete more directly with services such as Facebook FB -owned WhatsApp, which allows one-on-one and group conversations with end-to-end encryption. Twitter doesn't have some functions offered by WhatsApp — such as support for voice calls — but otherwise already has many of the same features.

An encrypted message feature could help keep users on Twitter and away from other services. Currently, users who might begin a private conversation on Twitter might leave to use another app, such as Signal or WhatsApp, to continue chatting with encryption.

Twitter may also get the leg up on WhatsApp if it Facebook starts to dig into those conversations. WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum recently left WhatsApp and The Washington Post said the departure may have been related to "differences in approach" including Facebook's ad targeting and encryption plans.

The function could also potentially set the stage for Twitter to one day launch a standalone messaging service that operates independently of its primary app.

Twitter was not immediately available for comment and it's not clear when — or even if — Twitter will add the option.

Read the full report on TechCrunch .

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