The company will now collect a lot more personal data and use it in new ways. We break it down for you.
First, a little background. As you’re probably aware, Twitter is no longer Twitter; it is now X, courtesy of new owner Elon Musk, who wants to turn it into ‘everything app.’ That means that Twitter (sorry, X), is gradually changing from ‘yell at the world in short message format’ app into ‘chatting, blogging, sharing videos, making calls, personal finance, and basically everything else’ app.
It’s nice of Twitter (X) to have both documents online so you can compare them, though doing it side-by-side or running them through an automated comparison tool is still a drag, as you can only download the old (current) policy in PDF format.
So, what’s new?
Most noticeably, instances of ‘Twitter’ were changed to ‘X,’ while ‘tweets’ were changed to ‘posts.’ Also, all mentions of ‘Periscope,’ Twitter’s streaming video feature, were removed (Periscope was killed off in March 2021).
There are some interesting bits, and some slightly worrying bits, though deciphering what, exactly, they mean is not entirely straightforward.
One new sentence, added to the ‘Sharing Information’ chapter, says that Twitter may share your information with an ‘applicant tracking system providers to send and receive applicant and job data to potential employers,’ which is likely related to X’s upcoming job listings platform.
Also, a new sentence under ‘Objecting to, Restricting, or Withdrawing your Consent’ says the following: ‘You may also manage additional settings when interacting with certain content and features on different parts of the platform, such as whether a Space is recorded, or whether videos you upload are downloadable by others.’ This implies that managing your privacy settings over at https://twitter.com/settings/account may not be enough to take care of privacy settings for every feature on X, and you may to dig a little deeper to find them.
The worrying parts
Is there anything in there you should be concerned about? Yes.
The first bit, under ‘Usage Information,’ says X may collect information on the ‘metadata related to Encrypted Messages.’ Ideally, the company should collect as little of such metadata as possible, though collecting some of it is sometimes unavoidable.
Then there’s a new sentence in the part of the document where X explains how it uses the information it collects from users says ‘we may use the information we collect and publicly available information to help train our machine learning or artificial intelligence models for the purposes outlined in this policy.’
Perhaps the most worrying part of the new policy is the fact that Twitter now ‘may collect and use your biometric information for safety, security, and identification purposes.’ The good news here is that this is ‘based on your consent,’ so hopefully users will be able to opt out of it completely.
Finally, Twitter now ‘may collect and use your personal information (such as your employment history, educational history, employment preferences, skills and abilities, job search activity and engagement, and so on).’ This is done, according to Twitter, to ‘recommend potential jobs for you, to share with potential employers when you apply for a job, to enable employers to find potential candidates, and to show you more relevant advertising.’
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