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US government had 'full access' to Twitter data, private DMs: Musk

Twitter CEO Elon Musk. (Reuters)

Twitter CEO Elon Musk, in a startling revelation, has claimed that the US government had “full access” to the social media platform's user data, including private direct messages, saying the information blew his mind.

In a wide-ranging interview with Fox News, which will be broadcast on Monday and Tuesday night, Musk said he was shocked to learn that the government had full access to private communications on the platform.

“The degree to which government agencies effectively had full access to everything that was going on on Twitter blew my mind,” Musk, who purchased Twitter in October 2022 for $44 billion, told the US-based news channel, as reported by The Hill. “I was not aware of that.”

“Would that include people’s DMs?” Fox News host Carlson asked the billionaire entrepreneur. “Yes,” Musk said in response.

The business tycoon's admission that US intelligence agencies have full access to the information posted on Twitter, including direct messages, is likely to spark concern among users who otherwise assume their information is protected.

Although he didn't explain how and to what degree is the access, his comments suggest the situation is far more alarming than is perceived.

Musk also expressed his concern about the latest wave of artificial intelligence, referred to as A.I., telling the news channel that he believes the technology has the potential to destroy civilization.

“AI is more dangerous than, say, mismanaged aircraft design or production maintenance, or bad car production in the sense that it has the potential — however, small one may regard that probability, but it is non-trivial — it has the potential for civilizational destruction,” he asserted.

Musk, who in addition to owning a car manufacturing company (Tesla) and spaceship building corporation (SpaceX), is reportedly planning to establish a new artificial intelligence company called X.AI Corp, as reported by The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times.

Musk bought Twitter last October for $44 billion after months of negotiations marked by pauses. Since taking the helm, he introduced sweeping changes to the platform, from firing staff, charging a fee for the verified accounts and bringing back former US president Donald Trump on the platform.

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