Social media companies including Facebook and Alphabet’s Google have come under scrutiny on data privacy issues, fuelled by Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal in which personal data were harvested from millions of users without their consent.
Twitter also announced on Monday that it is moving the accounts of users outside of the United States and European Union which were previously contracted by Twitter International Company in Dublin, Ireland, to the San Francisco-based Twitter Inc.
The company said this move would allow it the flexibility to test different settings and controls with these users, such as additional opt-in or opt-out privacy preferences, that would likely be restricted by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Europe’s landmark digital privacy law.
“We want to be able to experiment without immediately running afoul of the GDPR provisions,” Twitter’s data protection officer Damien Kieran told Reuters in a phone interview.
“The goal is to learn from those experiments and then to provide those same experiences to people all around the world,” he said.
The company, which said it has upped its communications about data and security-related disclosures over the last two years, emphasised in a Monday blog post that it was working to upgrade systems and build privacy into new products.
In October, Twitter announced it had found that phone numbers and email addresses used for two-factor authentication may inadvertently have been used for advertising purposes.
Twitter’s new privacy site, dubbed the ‘Twitter Privacy Center’ is part of the company’s efforts to showcase its work on data protection and will also give users another route to access and download their data.
Twitter joins other Internet companies who have recently staked out their positions ahead of CCPA coming into effect. Last month, Microsoft said it would honour the law throughout the United States and Google told clients that it would let sites and apps using its advertising tools block personalised ads as part of its efforts to comply with CCPA.
Twitter Said to Be Planning Bitcoin Payments as Tips on Its Platform
Twitter is considering a feature that would allow users to tip one another – in Bitcoins though.
The Information reports that the micro-blogging platform is working on implementing a new payment feature to let people send money to each other.
It is not yet clear whether the Twitter tipping feature would integrate with Jack Dorsey’s other company, Square, which is a financial services, merchant services aggregator, and mobile payment company based in San Francisco.
Dorsey has made absolutely no secret of his love of Bitcoin over the years.
NewsBTC has reported on the Twitter CEO opining that Bitcoin will one day be the currency of the internet and his company Square integrating cryptocurrency payments.
“Dorsey has been a major investor in the Bitcoin micropayments solution Lightning Network,” said the report.
Dorsey will move to Africa for three-six months this year to “define the future”.
“Sad to be leaving the continent for now. Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!). Not sure where yet, but I’ll be living here for 3-6 months mid-2020. Grateful I was able to experience a small part,” said the Twitter CEO.
Dorsey has also hired Bitcoin developers for his payments company.
He is an advocate of digital currency bitcoin but he also says it is “not functional as a currency”.
Twitter System ‘Outage’ Briefly Blocked Trump Whistleblower Tweet
A tweet from US President Donald Trump that identified an intelligence analyst as the alleged whistleblower who helped spark his impeachment was temporarily blocked at the weekend, with Twitter blaming an outage that affected a number of user accounts. In recent days, Trump shared an unsubstantiated media report and a second post that appeared to name the intelligence community member.
However, the second tweet, from the president’s personal account, was not visible on Saturday to all of his 68 million followers. It was visible again on Sunday afternoon, although the original account that shared the alleged whistleblower’s name had been deleted.
“Due to an outage with one of our systems, tweets on account profiles were visible to some, but not others,” Twitter Support said. “We’re still working on fixing this and apologise for any confusion.” A spokeswoman for the social media platform confirmed that the US president’s account was among those affected.
The spokeswoman added that, per Twitter policy, any tweets that included private information about an individual, including the alleged whistleblower, would be in violation of its rules. Names are not considered private information, she said.
Democrats, some Republicans, and members of the US intelligence community have strongly objected to the effort to reveal the whistleblower’s identify, calling it inappropriate and possibly illegal.
Mark Zaid, one of the whistleblower’s lawyers, said on Twitter in early November that Republicans had “sought to expose our client’s identity which could jeopardise their safety, as well as that of their family.”
Other Republicans, including Senator Rand Paul and the president’s son Donald Trump Jr, have previously shared links on Twitter to articles from right-wing news outlets identifying what they claimed was the likely whistleblower. However, Thursday marked the first time the president had done so, when he retweeted a link to a Washington Examiner article.
On Friday, Trump retweeted a post from a pro-Trump account that featured the same name prominently, and that has also shared photos of a person who it alleged was the whistleblower.
That retweet briefly disappeared from Trump’s Twitter account on Saturday, reported the Washington Post, CNN, and other media.
© Thomson Reuters 2019
Twitter Adds Support for iPhone’s Live Photos, Will Now Preserve Image Quality for Uploads on Web
Twitter announced earlier this year that it is planning on adding support for Apple’s Live Photos feature on iOS devices while everyone was looking for a simple edit button for tweets. Now, four years after Apple launched the feature on iOS devices, Twitter has added support for Live Photos. The social networking giant announced the new feature for iPhone users on Wednesday. Live Photos will be converted to GIFs when they’re shared on Twitter.
Apple’s Live Photos feature lets iOS users capture very short videos while taking a photo. Users who tried to share Live Photos on Twitter, until now, would end up with a still photo. Users could convert their Live Photos to GIF using a third-party app and then share them on Twitter.
Twitter’s support for Live Photos will now eliminate the need for using a third-party application. Users can directly share their Live Photos and they’ll be automatically converted to GIFs.
To use the new feature, Twitter users need to use the company’s iOS app. While posting a new tweet, users can select a Live Photo from their camera roll, select the GIF button on the left corner of the compose window, add relevant text, and that’s it.
Separately, Twitter will now preserve JPEG image quality for all photo uploads on Twitter for Web. The social networking company will still compress the thumbnails that users see on their timeline. However, when users click on the thumbnail to see the full image, it’ll be presented in high resolution. Twitter engineer Nolan O’Brien announced via a tweet. The company will still strip EXIF data from the images.
O’Brien further clarified that the company will continue to impose limits for images, but those will remain ‘very generous’. He says users will be able to share images up to 16-megapixels which will be preserved in original quality.