Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Twitter Is 'Reading' Your Direct Messages

DM.jpg

What's hiding in that 'Direct Message' inbox of yours?

Anything compromising? Nothing you need worry about?

We only ask because it turns out Twitter might have been reading them over your shoulder all this whole time.

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Twitter this week, after Wilford Raney and others complained that "Twitter surreptitiously eavesdrops on its users’ private Direct Message communications. As soon as a user sends a Direct Message, Twitter intercepts, reads, and, at times, even alters the message".

The niggle lies in how Twitter handles the path of your 'DM': rather than heading straight to the recipient's inbox, it is first scanned by a Twitter algorithm (note: not a human) which shortens long URLs for shorter ones. This is 'proof' that DMs are being read in a previously unknown manner.

This, the suit claims, allows Twitter to benefit in underhand fashion: should you send your friend a DM link to a ShortList.com article, Twitter's algorithm will swap in their own, traceable link, thus allowing them to keep an eye on how well their own service is acting as a traffic source, and thus charge a higher advertising rate in the long term.

It's going to be a tricky legal battle of semantics: Twitter doesn't describe its Direct Messages as 'private', but rather 'more private' than sending a public Tweet. No humans are involved in scanning your Direct Messages, so it's not clear if the network is actually breaking any privacy laws if it's just computers looking for URLs. Google was hit by a similar lawsuit that claimed it was reading Gmail messages for keywords.

Twitter has told TechCrunch that it believes "the claims are meritless and we intend to fight them".

No - your inbox isn't about to get leaked all over the dark web, but it does serve as a reminder than anything you send anywhere on the web - no matter the level of privacy you think is involved - can be read by something or someone at any time.

Related

launch2.jpg

Here's How To Get '3D Touch' Functions On Your Old iPhone

dislike2.jpg

Facebook Finally Giving Us A 'Dislike' Button. Only They're Also Not

darpa2.jpg

The US Military Just Invented A Robotic Insect Helicopter

concept2.jpg

The Minimalist Phone Concept You Didn't Know You Wanted

t2.jpg

NASA Has Invented A Terminator-like Self-healing Material

badnightout.jpg

Facebook Is Ruining your Excuse for Getting Out of Boring Invitations

Comments

More

Man runs Football Manager for 1000 years and insane things happened

The future of football is a weird, wonderful place

by Dave Fawbert
18 Jul 2017

Robot is gifted with intelligence, immediately commits suicide

I NEVER ASKED FOR THIS [END TRANSMISSION]

by Gary Ogden
18 Jul 2017

Mario Kart VR is a real thing and it looks ridiculously fun

Imagine Rainbow Road

by Matt Tate
14 Jul 2017

People are freaking out over this totally stupid Super Mario puzzle

Who invented this?!

by Alex Finnis
14 Jul 2017

I went in search of the last trainers still hooked on Pokémon Go

Can the app still draw mass crowds one year on, or is it all just Pokemon G(h)o-st towns now?

by Hussein Kesvani
06 Jul 2017

You've been charging your phone completely wrong - here's how to do it

A phone battery is for life, not just for Christmas

by Gary Ogden
06 Jul 2017

The Crash Bandicoot remaster is a time machine to your childhood

Was it always this hard?!

by Matt Tate
05 Jul 2017

This 12-year-old CEO is here to show you how little you've achieved

He's also an actor and musician, and you probably hate him already

by Dave Fawbert
05 Jul 2017

Facebook are making it easier for you to find Wi-Fi

Here's how to use it

by Matt Tate
04 Jul 2017

People can't stop laughing at this poor man and his Snapchat map

Oh mate...

by Alex Finnis
30 Jun 2017