The Mystery of Twitter’s Free Pass


Major media consistently acknowledges Facebook and Twitter as the two titans of social media. Thus, it’s right that Facebook has received a great deal of attention for its participation in the world’s largest ever data scandal. The UK cited and fined Facebook for data-privacy abuses as did the UN (pdf). And, Facebook has been raked over the coals several times by the US Congress. But what about Twitter?

Facebook vs. Twitter

Twitter’s CEO Jack has been called in front of Congress; but Twitter hasn’t received even close to the amount of media attention, legal and financial repercussions, or public blow-back. The reality, however, is that Twitter mimicked Facebook when it came to compromising users’ personal data.

Like Facebook, Twitter sold user data to Cambridge Analytica operative, Dr. Kogan. This is particularly concerning because selling data is one of Twitter’s core profit-making services. While Twitter claims it only sold publicly available data, it’s impossible to know if this is true without an external and independent audit.

Twitter’s Russia Problem

It seems less than logical to trust the word of a company financed early on by Russian institutions with eventual connections to Jared Kushner.

This is notable since Russia’s propaganda machine is still in full swing on Twitter’s platform.

Fake Russian accounts are often exposed and reported to Twitter–like these 40 million fake Russian accounts that were pointed out to Twitter.

But, as of today (November 8, 2018), these accounts are still active.

We long known about Russia’s use of social media to nefariously influence US elections. So, it’s alarming that Russia continues to create millions of fake accounts. It’s also alarming that Twitter doesn’t readily identify them. Even when users report the fakes and Twitter violates them, Twitter is slow to remove them.

US social media platforms have sold our personal data for profit.

They’ve allowed their platforms to be used against our democracy and others’.

It is the biggest data scandal in human history.

While Facebook has suffered notable repercussions from its participation in the scandal, it remains a mystery that Twitter has avoided much of the same scrutiny.

Written by Virginia Murr

Read More Commentary about Twitter:

Open Letter to Jack Dorsey

Fake Social Media Accounts, Real World Impact

How Social Media Breeds Hate

Twitter’s Russian Bot Hostesses

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Author: Virginia Murr