Elon Musk
Credits: https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/elon-musk-isnt-funny-bad-jokes-twitter-1234712950/

Elon Musk claims US government has access to private DMs on Twitter

In an exclusive interview with Tucker Carlson from Fox News, Twitter CEO Elon Musk made several mind bothering statements. The most concerning parts of the interview were when the SpaceX lead was talking about Artificial Intelligence and the extent of government access to Twitter. The billionaire CEO has once again managed to keep up his image of making shocking statements in interviews that get him on the news. In my previous article on the exclusive Fox News interview with Musk, I had predicted that the Twitter CEO will once again make it a point to make shocking revelations. However, given Mr. Musk’s history, it was not a surprising forecast. During the interview, Musk claimed that the government of the United States had access to all content on his social media platform including the direct messages of the users.

Credits: https://www.breezyscroll.com/world/the-us/elon-musk-claims-that-us-government-had-complete-access-to-private-twitter-dms/

Twitter’s Privacy policy:

While most companies have complicated their privacy policies and their terms of services to an extent beyond user comprehension, Twitter has taken a step towards user experience by making their privacy policy easy to understand. They have also mentioned the key features of their privacy policy in a more user friendly manner.

With the revelations that Twitter Chief Executive Elon Musk made about the government being able to access the private direct messages that users of the app sent to each other, privacy rights activists and users of the platform were taken aback. They were not expecting the government to have such access to the messages which they thought were secure. Even the billionaire CEO who owns the social media platform said that he was not aware of this. He said the fact that the government had full access to everything on his platform blew his mind. The famous Fox News host asked him if the ‘everything’ that Musk mentioned included the private DMs of Twitter users and the Twitter Chief Executive responded with an affirmative.

When can Twitter share user information?

As part of the privacy policy that is available on their website, the social media platform claims that they only share the data that they gather from their users on the platform in five ways:

When a user tweets, posts or shares:

  1. With everyone: This discloses the user’s profile information to everyone on the internet who may or may not be a twitter user.
  2. With another Twitter user: The social media platform has made it clear that the interaction a user has with another could potentially make the posts he liked and people he follows available. They have also warned that if a user shares some information with another user who accesses the platform via a third party application then the said information could be available to the third party as well.
  3. With partners: The social media company might share some of user information with their partners. This depends upon the settings a user has opted for in regards to his data usage.

With third parties:

The company shares the user data with their service providers, advertisers and with third parties when a user accesses the platform with third party application.

With their affiliates:

Twitter shares user information among its affiliates to make user experience on their platform better.

In case of an ownership change:

The social media company can sell, share and transfer information in case of a merger, sell out, acquisition and similar circumstances.

When it is required by law:

The terms of the privacy policy also clearly mention that the company could share user information in compliance of a government order.


Although this particular section of the privacy policy might make it sound like a completely normal scenario if the government has access to user data. It just further raises questions if there is a legal order which allows them to do so for all users of the platform. It is usually justified if the government seeks access to the information of a particular user when national security and public safety is being looked into. However, it is understandable that users would consider it a privacy breach if the government accesses the data of all of them. The government of the United States is yet to make an official statement on the revelations made by Elon Musk.