“Twitter has pages and pages of rules and requirements including its comprehensive terms of service that protects Twitter from you, but you have nothing that protects you from Twitter.”
In what might just be the creepiest story you read all week, Project Veritas released a new video on Monday that might make you think twice about using Twitter. Part III of Veritas’ undercover journey into the world of Twitter uncovers that the social media giant may know more about you than you know about yourself.
“We know some stuff,” Twitter Software Engineer Mihai Florea told the Veritas reporter. “We aren’t as creepy as Facebook or Google, but we know some stuff.”
The question is, what stuff?
Every single thing you do on Twitter — whether it’s public or a private direct message — is stored on Twitter’s servers. Whether it’s something as simple as telling someone you love them, or something as private as sharing personal, even graphic, pictures with another person is compiled onto Twitter’s servers and is at their disposal 24/7.
Here’s what Twitter Direct Messaging Engineer Pranay Singh had to say about the data mining happening at Twitter:
So, what happens is, like, when you, like, write stuff or when you post pictures online, they never go away. Like, they’re always on there. Because, like, even after you send them, people are, like, analyzing them, to see what you’re interested, to see what you’re talking about, and they sell that data.
Okay. That’s sufficiently scary. So who does Twitter sell your personal information to?
Advertisers. Now, you can’t get too mad about a company trying to make money, but to do so behind your back — and in the fine print that no one reads, but should — is a nefarious practice that almost sounds like a con artist trying to get money over the phone from grandma.
Alright. One more question. What lengths does Twitter go to in order to collect all of your information and sell it to the highest bidder?
“An algorithm will look at it,” Singh said, “and they’ll make a virtual profile about you.”
So it’s just machines then?
“There teams dedicated to it,” Twitter Senior Network Security Engineer Clay Haynes told the Veritas reporter. “I mean, we’re talking, we’re talking there or four…at least, three or four hundred people.”
George Orwell would be proud. Big brother at its finest.
Is there anything the average person can do to prevent this from happening or to delete what Twitter might have? Unfortunately, the answer is a resounding no.
Here what former engineer for Twitter Conrado Miranda said:
Like, if you go to Twitter for the first time, we have information about you. We actually bought a company because of this, like, ads network. We serve ads for other companies, in other people’s sites.
So, when you go in and see that ad, we get information that you’re this person, seeing this ad, at this moment at this location on this website.
Perhaps the most telling aspect of the Veritas undercover interviews came when the reporter asked Miranda two questions.
“What if that [information] fell into the wrong hands? How would you protect people from that?” the reporter asked.
“You don’t,” Miranda responded. “There is no way.”
While there are many positives to advancing technologies in our society, there is something to be said for simply signing out of your social media accounts and actually socializing again. It’s easier said than done to do just that, but it might just prevent the word “privacy” from becoming extinct.
For Part III of the Veritas series on Twitter, watch below: