Twitter Rejects Claims It Snoops on Private User Data Including Direct Messages

Twitter has rebuffed claims by a conservative media outlet that its staff monitor users' private data, including direct messages sent over the social network (via TechCrunch).

Earlier this week, Project Veritas, which hosts sting operation-style videos produced by self-proclaimed "guerrilla journalist" James O'Keefe, posted footage that appears to show Twitter engineers admitting that teams of employees access users' data.

In one brief clip, a senior network security engineer appears to say that the social media company would be able hand over President Donald Trump's data, including deleted tweets and direct messages, to the Department of Justice, subject to a subpoena.

Last week, Twitter criticized Project Veritas in a public statement for its "deceptive" and "selectively edited" report.
We deplore the deceptive and underhanded tactics by which this footage was obtained and selectively edited to fit a pre-determined narrative. Twitter only responds to valid legal requests and does not share any user information with law enforcement without such a request.
Referencing its privacy policies and terms of service which explain how it holds and stores information that users choose to share, Twitter said it is "committed to enforcing our rules without bias and empowering every voice on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules".

Project Veritas has been criticized in the past for using underhand and deceitful methods in its investigations. In November last year, one of its undercover employees was caught trying to bait reporters at The Washington Post by falsely claiming to be a sexual assault victim of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore. 

Twitter regularly reveals the number of legal requests it receives and responds to in its biannual transparency report. The company received 2,111 government information requests in the U.S. and produced at least some information for 77 percent of them during the period between January 1 and June 30, 2017.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Tag: Twitter


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18 months ago
Way to report the whole story MR!

What the undercover reporting here shows is Twitter employees describing "shadow banning" or deceptively silencing users who have political views that don't fall in line with leftist Jack Dorsey and Silicon Valley in general. In addition, these twitter folk reveal the clearly uneven application of outright banning, based on political leaning or affiliation and the bots used to seek out "rednecks" (their term.)

But as is the trend, Twitter protests against the method by which they were exposed, and can do nothing to refute the findings.

Okeefe and his people have been doing a thorough and transparent job for years, exposing this dangerous kind of hypocrisy. They publish all the info and evidence; this isn't the typical selective, super-edited, out-of-context style "evidence" you see in a standard media agenda-driven "expose'."

Watch the videos and listen to the audio yourself and then make your own conclusions. I see the interwebs are already in panic mode trying to spin this story.
Rating: 29 Votes
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18 months ago

Referencing its privacy policies ('https://twitter.com/en/privacy') and terms of service which explain how it holds and stores information that users choose to share, Twitter said it is "committed to enforcing our rules without bias and empowering every voice on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules".

Heh. The same "Twitter Rules" that can be changed on a whim to suit the company's needs and that are designed specifically for the company's benefit and not the consumer's legal rights. Do terms & conditions even have any real legal weight?

That aside, this article seems more a hit piece on this Project Veritas than any attempt at investigating whether or not Twitter actually snoops on customers.
Rating: 19 Votes
Avatar
18 months ago

Way to report the whole story MR!

What the undercover reporting here shows is Twitter employees describing "shadow banning" or deceptively silencing users who have political views that don't fall in line with leftist Jack Dorsey and Silicon Valley in general. In addition, these twitter folk reveal the clearly uneven application of outright banning, based on political leaning or affiliation and the bots used to seek out "rednecks" (their term.)

But as is the trend, Twitter protests against the method by which they were exposed, and can do nothing to refute the findings.

Okeefe and his people have been doing a thorough and transparent job for years, exposing this dangerous kind of hypocrisy. They publish all the info and evidence; this isn't the typical selective, super-edited, out-of-context style "evidence" you see in a standard media agenda-driven "expose'."

Watch the videos and listen to the audio yourself and then make your own conclusions. I see the interwebs are already in panic mode trying to spin this story.


Very well said.

Project Veritas has been criticized in the past for using underhand and deceitful methods in its investigations.


I guess Mike Wallace and 60 Minutes, and Chris Hanson used “underhand [sic] and deceitful methods in its investigations” too.
Rating: 14 Votes
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18 months ago
I simply do not believe them

They aggressively censor non liberal views. Shadowbanning is real.

Jack Dorsey is another disgusting tech CEO. Haven’t we learned, repeatedly, male feminists shouldn’t be trusted?

They are the most depraved on average
Rating: 13 Votes
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18 months ago

You'll never know unless you follow a few mainstream media reporters or columnists for a few days, and read the replies to their retweets. It's enlightening. And can be sickening even if you turn on filters.


Sorry, but this sounds like some sentiment from Oprah at the Golden Globes, met with a standing ovation from liberal Hollywood elite: "the press is under siege"

Give me a break. They've been lying to us nonstop since before the election, claiming HRC has a 99% chance of winning (no, simply no), gaslighting us,

They deserve criticism when on a public forum and opening themselves up to the public, spouting lies to serve their agenda. In my view, its just an agenda that resonates well with you.

hashtag fake news replies isn't harassment
Rating: 10 Votes
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18 months ago

Please stop with your right wing claims.
Project Veritas is not biased and has a right wing agenda.

They are not balanced to reality-just to their myopic agenda.


You're hearing inside info from Twitter engineers, who cares what their bias is? How much more direct would you like it? You want an official PR statement from Twitter saying "Yeah we do messed up crap" -- not gonna happen.

I assert you're being biased by not examining the facts, and what was said, and who said it, simply because you don't like Project Veritas
Rating: 9 Votes
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18 months ago
Like Facebook, Twitter is probably an arm of the NSA, that's why Apple inexplicably baked both of these services into iOS back in 2012.

In this way, Apple is technically correct when they say they don't spy on their users, they just allow FB and Twitter to do the dirty work for them.
Rating: 8 Votes
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18 months ago

If the majority of harassment comes from rightwing users, that's hardly Twitters fault.


This got me a bit curious. Is there an article to back up the claim that most of harassment on Twitter comes from the right?
Rating: 7 Votes
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18 months ago
No denial here that deleted, unfinished and direct messages are not private. 77% sharing rate is pretty darn high, and those are requested ones, not monetary or incentive bribes for info.
Rating: 5 Votes
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18 months ago
I don’t want to get into a whole thing about Project Veritas or how the videos were produced. In fact, there is already a thread on that end of it. However, I will say that those videos appear to show some pretty specific detailing of how Twitter is doing these things as told by their own engineers. Twitter’s response is essentially “no we don’t” so I guess we’re supposed to shrug and move on.
Rating: 5 Votes
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