New Company Sells Years of Twitter Posts

New Company Sells Years of Twitter Posts

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A new company is selling detailed info on over two years worth of Twitter activity.

Fresh off the heels over recent censorship concerns, Twitter may come under fire again for working with a new company called Datasift, which is offering companies the ability to dig through nearly two years of user tweets and activity.

Previously, only the past 30 days of anyone's Twitter account were available for companies to sort through, and regular users could only search for tweets from the past week. With Datasift's software, users can now view tweets that were posted as early as January 2010.

"No-one's ever done this before," Tim Barker, Datasift's marketing manager, explained in a recent interview to the BBC. "It's a massive technology challenge because of the amount of data that is pumped out every single day."

Datasift brings in nearly 250 million tweets every day, then analyzes their contents for what was tweeted and in what context, such as if it was a positive or negatively-toned statement or review. Companies subscribed to Datasift's services can then use this information to look into things like previous market trends or public opinion on business dealings.

However, some are concerned that Datasift's ability to provide companies access to a fairly large collection of personal Twitter information, which also includes location data and other social media activity, is more than likely a hefty invasion of privacy.

"People have historically used Twitter to communicate with friends and networks in the belief that their tweets will quickly disappear into the ether," argued Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International. "The fact that two years' worth of tweets can now be mined for information and the resulting 'insights' sold to businesses is a radical shift in the wrong direction."

Thankfully, those with Twitter feeds set to "private" to or who have deleted their Twitter accounts won't be indexed by the site, so if you're concerned about anything sketchy you may have tweeted in the past being dragged up again by some large corporation, you can always adjust your privacy settings or give up on the Twitter thing all together.

Source: BBC

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AFAIK, companies like Klout have already been doing this...and you know what that information is going to contain?

Lots of Lady Gaga/1Direction re-tweets with racist hashtags.

And many RIPs, like Davy Jones today.

The_root_of_all_evil:
AFAIK, companies like Klout have already been doing this...and you know what that information is going to contain?

Lots of Lady Gaga/1Direction re-tweets with racist hashtags.

And many RIPs, like Davy Jones today.

More Proof that the stuff you post on the internet never really goes away, no matter how much you want it to.
We'll miss you Davy


He'll be waiting at the station

I find it comical that this can even be remotely considered as an invasion of privacy on Datasift's part.

Kudos to them for developing a programme that can rout the useless information (which is essentially the majority) and offer up valuable marketing data.

As soon as you post in the public domain, that data is no longer your property. If you don't like it, don't post.

There is no way that this can end well. I very much doubt that just having your twitter set to private or whatever prevents the information from existing, just from it being sold to companies legitimatly. I'm sure all kinds of people can access that info through this technology illegally for all kinds of purposes. Not to mention that I'm wary about that kind of a record existing because that means the goverment could get access to it.

See, there was a perception that was cultivated to the everyman that these messages were not leaving a long-term record, basically being a communication that while public, wasn't going to be recorded permanantly. Sort of like the differance between speaking or having a conversation, and doing the same thing knowing that someone had a tape recorder.

Right now there is no real way to put this cat back in the bag, because even tight regulation means someone, somewhere is going to have it and use it, and probably has been before the private sector ever obtained the capability (I'm looking at intelligence services and the like).

Ultimatly I think there needs to be a requirement that such services no longer store data or create any kind of record. That's inconveinent on some levels, but the lesser of evils. In cases where data is recovered from Twitter or something similar, the service should be held liable as disposal of that data should be it's responsibility.

I'd have differant thoughts if I believed that the everyman using these devices knew that they were being recorded this way and such data could be recovered, but as the article points out the perception is differant. Before people talk about research, intelligence, and all of that other stuff, I will point out that while they might not apply here yet, there ARE laws based on perception to prevent people from being taken advantage of. It wasn't my area of study but from what little I learned about contract law years ago, there are actually requirements about how complicated a contract can be without fitting certain requirements, and also about the clarity of language and so on. Big contracts tend to be notarized specifically because the notaries, acting as neutral witnesses, can be in theory called in to testify as to their understanding of the contract and what it said when it was signed. It can get complicated but the point when I learned it was that the hollywood version of "contract loopholes" tends not to work that way (at least anymore) irregardless of the interpetations of wording or what "fine print" might say, in a dispute if you can say trott out three notaries who signed a contract having been neutral witnesses approved by both parties, and they all say that their understanding of the contract matched yours... there is a pretty good chance your going to win (though nothing is every definate). I'm no expert, here and some people on these forusm might know more about that than me, but I will say that even if one argues the people using Twitter SHOULD have known in some absolute sense, I do not think the vast majority of them DID know or that it was clearly spelled out when they were using the service, and you could probably find millions of people who would all verify not understanding that this kind of record could exist. As such I think it's something that needs to be addressed, and a lot of the blame and responsibility for providing security here and preventing this should fall on Twitter and similar services.

Doesn't this kind of thing come with the territory when you post your thoughts on the internet?

If it bothers you THAT MUCH that something you made public a year ago might (gasp) be SEEN, then set your Twitter to Private Mode.

lol Twitter tracking.

Given how much random stuff people post on their Twitter, I feel really sorry for the poor sap whose job it is to sift through all of it in the vain hope to actually find some kind of marketing trend.

Two years of 'This is what I had for dinner' and re-tweets of celebrities in a desperate attempt to feel like you have a connection with them?
Yeah that sounds like a good investment.

This is actually very disturbing. The internet has become a facet of our daily lives and I think that a lack of political action to secure privacy on it is abominable. Is there after all not also a statute known as "the secrecy of correspondence"?

Blunderboy:
Two years of 'This is what I had for dinner' and re-tweets of celebrities in a desperate attempt to feel like you have a connection with them?
Yeah that sounds like a good investment.

Obviously they're not going to sift through those tweets personally. I rather imagine that they'll be using search engines to find keywords relevant to their company. For instance, Activision might be looking at what's talked about more, Call of Duty or Battlefield, to determine how to approach their marketing campain. Usually when companies buy these large amounts of data, you have to think of it like some massive poll scheme.

Farther than stars:

Blunderboy:
Two years of 'This is what I had for dinner' and re-tweets of celebrities in a desperate attempt to feel like you have a connection with them?
Yeah that sounds like a good investment.

Obviously they're not going to sift through those tweets personally. I rather imagine that they'll be using search engines to find keywords relevant to their company. For instance, Activision might be looking at what's talked about more, Call of Duty or Battlefield, to determine how to approach their marketing campain. Usually when companies buy these large amounts of data, you have to think of it like some massive poll scheme.

I was really going for a funny/cynical point of view. I didn't genuinely think someone would be trawling through them. Obviously.

Meh. Don't put it online if ya don't want people to see it.
That is why we have things like user names so mother fuckers won't always know its you saying you hate them and want them to fall feet first into a wood chipper.
But who the fuck is gonna pay to be able to access other peoples tweets 2 years back? I would not give a single damn cent for that bullshit.

 

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