Elon Musk is buy Twitter for $44 billion after the sexiest will-they-won’t-not-so-sexy story of all time. And while Musk try to reassure yesterday, advertisers argued that “Twitter clearly can’t become a free-for-all dumping ground where anything can be said without consequences,” the acquisition raises real questions. Facts about what the nearly 240 million active users of this social network do can expect from the background Future.
Chief among these concerns are questions about how Twitter’s stance on user security and privacy might change in the Musk era. Several top Twitter executives were fired last night, including CEO Parag Agrawal, the company’s general counsel Sean Edgett, and Vijaya Gadde, head of legal policy, trusts and security company, who are known for their efforts to protect user data from law enforcement requests and court orders. Gadde runs the committee that ousted Donald Trump from Twitter in January 2021 following the Capitol riots. Meanwhile, Musk said in May that he wanted to reinstate Trump on the platform and called the removal of the former US president “morally bad.”
This afternoon, Musk Written that “Twitter will form a content moderation committee with diverse viewpoints. No substantive decisions or account recovery will occur before that panel convenes.”
Content moderation has real implications for user security on any platform, especially when it comes to hate speech and violent misinformation. But other topics, including the privacy of Twitter direct messages, protection from illegal government data requests, and the overall quality of Twitter’s security safeguards, will increase in the coming weeks. This is especially true when recent accusations from Twitter’s former chief security officer, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, who described Twitter’s completely inadequate digital security safeguards in an August report.
“Personally, I don’t know what to do, especially when you consider the complaint of the Federal Trade Commission,” said Whitney Merrill, data protection and privacy attorney and former Federal Trade Commission attorney. Mudge whistleblower. “I just don’t put any sensitive data or data that I want to keep confidential in the DM.”
Twitter provide a tool to download all the data the company has in your account and review your own account is a good first step to understanding what information the company has associated with you. However, it remains unclear exactly how much control you currently have over this data deletion, and policies may continue to evolve under Musk’s stewardship. For example, Twitter DMs only offer a “Delete for you” option, which means deleting messages from your own account but not to other users.
More broadly, Twitter’s current policy on account deactivation simply says: “If you don’t log back into your account within 30 days of deactivation, your account will be deactivated.” forever. Once permanently disabled, all information associated with your account will no longer be available in our Production Tools. It’s unclear exactly what this means in terms of long-term data retention, and again, policies may change in the future.