US government 'had full access' to Twitter users' private messages, Elon Musk claims

17 April 2023, 19:37 | Updated: 17 April 2023, 20:25

The Twitter CEO has claimed the US government previously 'had full access' to private messages on the social media platform.
The Twitter CEO has claimed the US government previously 'had full access' to private messages on the social media platform. Picture: Getty images/Alamy/Screenshot

By Jenny Medlicott

The American government was accessing Twitter users' private messages, according to Elon Musk.

A teaser trailer for an upcoming interview with the platform's boss was shared yesterday, and in it the billionaire made a shocking claim about the privacy of Twitter users' messages.

Scheduled to air Monday and Tuesday night with Tucker Carlson, the Tesla founder alleges that government officials were permitted access to private exchanges between people on Twitter before he took over.

He tells the interviewer: "The degree to which government agencies effectively had full access to everything that was going on on Twitter blew my mind. I was not aware of that."

Mr Carlson followed up: "Would that include people's DMs?"

"Yes," Musk replied.

It remains unclear to what extent the US authorities allegedly had access and whether it is still permitted today.

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Public reactions to the claim has been divided – some have said they're unsurprised, while others have questioned the legitimacy of the billionaire's claims.

One user said: "The government is reading our DM’s? Color me shocked!"

Meanwhile, another accused the CEO of spreading "right wing disinformation".

The SpaceX boss has been on the receiving end of continued scrutiny since taking over the popular social media platform, particularly during his first week where he cut half of Twitter's workforce, leaving roughly 3,750 people out of a job.

He has also been criticised for the rise in hate speech on the platform, although the billionaire has denied any such claims in recent interviews.

Throughout the rest of the teaser trailer, Mr Musk also makes reference to the rise of artificial intelligence and the implications he believes it could have for people in the future.

The interview is expected to air in two parts tonight and tomorrow evening.