Blog Post 3: Privacy

For this blog post, I decided to investigate Twitter’s privacy statement. I chose Twitter because I think that we focused a great deal on Facebook in class and I wanted to write about something fresh but also still relevant. I think that Twitter is especially relevant considering the fact that our President uses the app so much to communicate with the American public and the rest of the world.

Taking a close look at Twitter’s privacy policy showed me a few things. First, there is a multitude of options allowing for customization of the information made public to the rest of twitter users. You can make your account private, restrict your account from being able to be tagged in other posts, whether your phone number is displayed, and what accounts you want to block or “mute”(Privacy Policy, 1.6). I think that this section was extremely easy to understand and presented a great many options to users more focused on their privacy and online presence. There was a button that you could press (Figure 1) showing you exactly how you could access the Privacy & Safety menu (Figure 2). Another thing it showed me is that while the user has a large amount of control on what information they show on the surface, they have very little control of the information Twitter collects from them.

Section 2 of Twitter’s privacy policy details their ability to gather location information, cookies from your time on the web, Log Data (which catalogs exactly how you use and interact with the system), and information from third-party affiliates(Privacy Policy, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 2.8). By default, Twitter collects all this information from you and uses it to customize your experience. This “customization” of your experience on Twitter ties into several of our class discussions and our readings (particularly Why the First Amendment Doesn’t Really Apply to Social Media) regarding the “filter bubble.” This idea was one that our entire class found troubling and one that TeenVouge described as a “big problem.” With the general public not taking the time to read these policies and become aware of the presence of these options that create filter bubbles the problem will persist.

As a result of this assignment I think I will be much more cognisant of privacy policies as a whole and take the time out of my day to read them when I am creating new networking accounts.

-the845

Figure 1 & 2

 

Interview with fellow W&L classmate