X/Twitter’s New Data-Hungry Privacy Policy Is Now Being Enforced

Under the new policy, X/Twitter might access your encrypted messages, job history, and the apps installed on your phone.

X/Twitter's new privacy policy has gone into effect as of September 29, 2023.

If you're still using the social media platform today, you're operating under a brand-new set of rules surrounding what data the platform can access, what you're allowed to do on the platform, and how the service enforces it all.

Here are the main details to know about the new policy that Amnesty International has claimed “risks violating right to privacy for millions.”

What the New X/Twitter Privacy Policy Asks For

X/Twitter seeks information about your personal and professional accounts, as well as payment information if you're buying ads or a premium subscription.

Biometric data and job history

It's these two bulletpoints from the new privacy policy that have upset some:

  • Biometric Information. Based on your consent, we may collect and use your biometric information for safety, security, and identification purposes.
  • Job Applications / Recommendations. We 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) 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.

This data is only collected if users chose to provide it, however. More information is collected behind the scenes, such as location data.

Encrypted messages

X/Twitter will even collect “metadata related to Encrypted Messages,” as the new policy explains in this section:

“How you interact with others on the platform, such as people you follow and people who follow you, metadata related to Encrypted Messages, and when you use Direct Messages, including the contents of the messages, the recipients, and date and time of messages.”

Your IP address, the apps on your phone, and more

Device information is another category that X/Twitter is interested in. As their policy states, this might include:

  • Information about your connection, such as your IP address, browser type, and related information.
  • Information about your device and its settings, such as device and advertising ID, operating system, carrier, language, memory, apps installed, and battery level.
  • Your device address book, if youโ€™ve chosen to share it.

Finally, the new policy wipes out the term “Twitter” in reference to the social media platform now known as “X.” It's now called the “X Privacy Policy” rather than the “Current Privacy Policy.”

Amnesty International Had Some Thoughts

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has issued a statement warning against the new privacy policy.

According to Michael Kleinman, Director of Silicon Valley Initiative at Amnesty International, the real risk of privacy violation doesn't come from the opt-in biometric data collection, but from the fact that X/Twitter hasn't explained how all this data will be stored.

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โ€œThe new policy does not clearly spell out how that data will be stored and the safety measures in place to ensure that the information collected will not be used for unlawful purposes. With over 500 million users, such a system-wide collection of extremely sensitive data poses huge security and privacy risks. Even more concerning is the provision that X will collect information about the location of users and their private messages, which may constitute mass surveillance.”

This data will be used to train AI models at X, as well, Kleinman notes, even though this is not made clear in the policy.

Users who disagree with the sweeping but under-explained data collection, storage, and use have one option: Quit the platform.

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Written by:
Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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