internet indiscretions

Twitter Sued for Allegedly Spying on Our Private Messages

by Michael Scrutchin Posted: 09-17-15 | 2 years ago
What's happening, Twitter?
Photo Credit: PiXXart / What's happening, Twitter?

Uh-oh, our private messages on Twitter might not be so private.

Or at least that’s what a new lawsuit claims. Mashable reports that a guy from San Francisco has filed a class-action lawsuit against Twitter, alleging that Twitter “surreptitiously eavesdrops on its users’ private Direct Message communications.”

The suit claims that this eavesdropping happens when the user includes a hyperlink in their direct message, triggering Twitter’s algorithms to replace the user’s hyperlink with a custom link that travels through Twitter’s “” domain before going to the destination website. The suit alleges that Twitter benefits from replacing hyperlinks with their own custom links because it increases Twitter’s perceived value to would-be advertisers (look at all those hits coming from Twitter!), allowing Twitter to negotiate better advertising rates.

Of course, doesn’t Twitter’s privacy policy cover this? In regards to links, it says:

“Twitter may keep track of how you interact with links across our Services, including our email notifications, third-party services, and client applications, by redirecting clicks or through other means. We do this to help improve our Services, to provide more relevant advertising, and to be able to share aggregate click statistics such as how many times a particular link was clicked on.”

It remains to be seen whether or not Twitter’s privacy policy has all their ducks in a row here. As Mashable pointed out, Google had to stop scanning student Gmail accounts after a group of students slapped them with a lawsuit last year.

Michael Scrutchin

Former film critic and editor of the now-defunct Flipside Movie Emporium. Writer of sorts. Houston native. Also: dancer, poet, fiddler.

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