After Facebook data leak scandal, a massive part of Facebook users shifted their social networking allegiance to Twitter with the perspective that this platform does not share users’ data.
According to Bloomberg, Twitter provided users’ data access to Cambridge Analytica in 2015. Initially, Twitter sold data to Cambridge University professor Aleksandr Kogan first, then forwarded to his organization GSR (Global Science Research).
One day access was provided by Twitter to GSR in 2015. According to Twitter officials, the data, which was sold to Professor Kogan included a random sample of users’ public tweets between December 2014 to April 2015. Twitter also confirmed by saying, “It didn’t include any private information of users.”
On the other hand, Professor Kogan told the media that they used data for producing brand marketing reports and professional tools for the survey. He also claimed that he had not breached any Twitter policies.
However, the most significant concern was the potential of GSR to relate Twitter and Facebook data that showed how precise and detailed was the data gathering steps.
Furthermore, according to Twitter officials, they had banned Cambridge Analytica and GSR from purchasing data related to ads. They also banned advertising of all accounts that were run by Cambridge Analytica.
Professor Kogan claimed the media news to be incorrect after statements that were published regarding data theft by GSR and Cambridge Analytica. Stating, “I mean, they made these tools especially for technical researchers and developers to gather the users’ data. These platforms provide a gate, which is always open if you bid a right amount for it.”
What Twitter Sold Data means for its users?
We think this data theft didn’t offer much information as compared to what happened with Facebook data scandal. However, privacy concerns are still there, but Twitter platform is way different than Facebook. In Twitter, you are just following people that have separate entities based on their interest. Nobody knows what kind of relationship you have with your followers. It is a place where you share your opinions publicly. Twitter users do not share what they’re doing, where they are right now, or where they traveled on vacations or getting married, etc.
While Facebook reveals everything about your personal life, that is the sole reason why the intensity of data is much higher than the data collected through Twitter. It means Twitter is still a safe place as compared to Facebook regarding data intensity. However, these social media platforms always have something hidden inside their sleeves that allows them to collect comprehensive data of users.
Only time will tell how these social platforms makes effective policies in future while ensuring online data privacy of its users. This can only be done with a team of cyber professionals who knows “how tech works.”