Twitter has openly and publically accepted its guilt and crime of copying entire address books of users from their mobile phones and stored the gathered information on its servers. Most of the users did not even realize that this invasion of privacy was happening to their personal information. When users log on to their Twitter app on mobiles and click ‘Find Friends’, it is then that their contact details are being saved up onto an external server unbeknownst to them.
To correct its conduct, the micro-blogging website has vowed to take measures of updating its privacy settings so that users remain aware of what data of there is being shared when they Twitter through their mobile devices. To express Twitter’s new approach of transparency, a Twitter spokesman said:
“We want to be clear and transparent in our communications with users. Along those lines, in our next app updates, which are coming soon, we are updating the language associated with Find Friends – to be more explicit.”
When it comes to the language of the law and technicality of computer communication, precision is of utmost importance. To ensure this, instead of ‘scan your contacts’, Twitter users will now be given option for ‘upload your contacts’ or ‘import your contact’. Though even this clearer language does not guarantee that their address books are not being copied, but rather that they consent to the fact their address books are being copied.
Such things as this are the very reason why most people get scarred of social networking and blogging and micro-blogging for that matter, because they know at some point they are being deceived in a complex system that they don’t fully comprehend. The tool of such social media technology then becomes an instrument for their affliction rather than facilitate their space of being online.
For the iPhone users, Twitter will scan contacts which are already known by them to be using the micro-blogging social network. According to a report in LA Times, Twitter app stores information of a person’s full iPhone contact list for up to 18 months, which is a long time for the information to be kept and even used for other purposes. This is why a question arises, why would Twitter need such information from its app users? There are other social networks which have been blamed for the similar conduct.
A recent case of Path, another American social network, is pertinent in the same regard which was also compelled to change its mobile settings for users. A user ought to know what data is being used and what is being stored for various online activities on such social networking sites. It is thanks to privacy campaigners who have taken a bit of control over the issue to keep it away from blowing up into a bad mass reaction, which would have definitely harmed Twitter’s user-base and profits.