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  • Twitter Raising Privacy Concerns With Sale of Old Tweets
Technology Articles > Social Networking > Twitter > Twitter Raising Privacy Concerns With Sale of Old Tweets

Recently, it was discovered that Twitter is selling tweets that date all the way back to January of 2010. Twitter users have (understandably) mixed feelings about this news. Those who reject social media are certainly feeling justified in their decision to avoid the Twitter world. Those who don’t may find that there’s little that can be done about this latest social media news update.

Great for Business

What isn't to love about this idea for businesses? Truth be told, Twitter has already been sifting slowly through tweets on their own, looking for a way to keep customers happy and come up with innovative ideas. That's a lot of work for a small department of people to do when you realize there are roughly 250 million tweets to sort through each and every day. This task is more than daunting, and virtually impossible to get done without spending a small fortune, paying an army of people to do nothing more than sit on a computer and browse Twitter seeking out keywords.

Along came the slew of social media-monitoring companies, created just to do this sort of task. This might seem like a good idea, but you are still missing some tweets here, there, and everywhere. With Twitter selling its archive of old tweets dating all the way back to 2010, trends can be followed over time and the business owner can be assured they are getting the most data to analyze as possible.

Not So Great For Twitter Users

This is a virtual slap in the face for not only Twitter users, but users of other social media sites as well. If you post it or tweet it, it is no longer private. That tweet is exposed for the Twitter community to see publicly, and this deal basically shows that Twitter “owns” our tweets. Not following me? Let's put it this way: if Twitter can sell something, don't they have to own it first? Thus, Twitter owns every single tweet you compose.

Whether we like it or not, use of a free website or service typically involves some form of price to pay. In Twitter's case, they are helping businesses more effectively target their advertising campaigns by gaining access to your interests and personality shown through your tweets. Facebook does the same with their Sponsored Ads/Stories. If you've used certain words in your status updates or “like” a particular business page, you are going to see certain ads targeted specifically for those keywords or “likes.”

The Deal Has Been Sealed

No matter if users like it or not, the deed has been done. UK-based company Datasift has already signed up to gain access to this archive of tweets, and plans to create a cloud-based collection of the tweets which they will in turn offer other companies access to for a price. The customer will be charged based on the amount of relevant data it returns, and Twitter will get a portion of the proceeds. Datasift is claiming that approximately 1,000 clients are already waiting in line for the service to begin, and have expressed willingness to pay up to a whopping 10,000 pounds per month for access to your old tweets. In case you don't know the conversion here, that's 15,872.40 USD, just for your collection of everyday tweets. It is unclear if privacy groups will, or can, object.