Twitter is at the beginning of a process that will eventually make HTTPS browsing a default feature on the popular micro-blogging platform. The company currently is experimenting by turning HTTPS on for a small percentage of users.
Enabling HTTPS means that all communications between users and Twitter will be encrypted, which can be particularly reassuring when users are connecting to Twitter over unsecured, public WiFi networks. It is important to note that Twitter has always used HTTPS to protect passwords during the login process, and that will not change.
The network’s global public relations handle published a tweet yesterday encouraging their users to go into their settings and enable HTTPS, a feature that Twitter initially implemented back in March. The tweet also announces that they will be enabling the feature by default for certain users.
There was a bit of controversy when they first implemented the feature in March as to whether or not HTTPS would apply to mobile apps. According to their support page, the official iPhone and iPad apps are encrypted regardless, but users will need to manually enter HTTPS into the address bar if they want to encrypt their communications with Twitter on the mobile site and whether any third-party Twitter apps encrypt communications is up to the application’s developer.
We reached out to twitter for comment and they told us that they are in the process of gradually implementing HTTPS by default. They plan on automatically enabling the feature on small groups of accounts until the feature is enabled on every Twitter account.
Facebook introduced HTTPS browsing in a similar fashion earlier this year, and the move to HTTPS for any site is generally seen as a positive one. However, there are some questions that need to be answered. It’s not clear exactly who will be part of the test group. Twitter Communications Specialist, Rachel Horwitz, told us that at the beginning of the roll-out process, only current users had HTTPS automatically enabled, but she also said they may start implementing the feature by default for new sign-ups as well.
Twitter’s support page has details on the move and how to make the change in your own account settings.