Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Twitter Terms of Service Violations

In this article I will go into detail about Twitter and their renewed push to punish companies that violate their terms of service. Companies have been using twitter’s data for surveillance and other activities are in violation of their terms of service and this could negatively affect many businesses. In the financial technology world there are a number of firms that use twitters data for surveillance for law enforcement and anti-terrorism. Twitter continues to cut ties with social media monitoring companies and in October they cut off ties with Snaptrends and Geofeedia. Snaptrends has been able to provide police groups with access to its software and has helped boost the number of arrests the department was able to carry out while executing warrants. Geofedia has since laid off half their staff due to the loss in Twitter and Facebook data.
I think that twitter has been hurting recently and their recent struggles have initiated this movement. Twitter has been losing its relevance and with acquisition talks over the past year they need to make themselves more attractive as an organization. Twitter claims that recent stories about surveillance have caused the company “great concern” and that social justice is a long standing and core part of Twitters social mission. However Twitter is not acknowledging the use of the tweets to help law enforcement make arrests. If people are dumb enough to post these ideas and actions online they should be punished and caught for these actions. The FBI has a 5% stake to monitor tweets and Twitter has been a successful resource to help stop terrorism. Terrorist groups use social media to recruit followers and to show their agenda. Twitter should focus on ensuring that groups like ISIS do not use their platform to create a world with hate and violence rather than creating an effort to stop organizations that use this data to catch these criminals. It is mind boggling to me that they would make this massive effort to infringe on businesses when their site is being used as a tool for terrorism.
Twitter has become much less relevant in the market in recent years and this push against people using their data to help law enforcement groups is an example of how much they are struggling. I think they may try to charge organizations for this service in the future so they may have more market appeal and help influence their bottom line. Twitter however needs to find a way to pivot to become relevant again and they should not limit public organizations from using data that is easily accessible on the web, I think that anyone who is dumb enough to have their page set to public and to post their beliefs for anyone to see should not be upset when people use this data. Twitter is a social site but it is not a private group chat with friends and people should smarten up if they truly want this privacy.

Roberts, Jeff John. "Twitter Warns Developers About Misusing Data." Fortune. Fortune, 21 Nov. 2016. Web. 22 Nov. 2016.


  1. I think that it is great that Twitter took these steps to punish the companies that violate their terms of service. It shows that they are still trying to be in the social media platform competition and that they are not just going to let their service be abused and misused.
    Twitter was not intended to be a form of surveillance; it was meant to be a platform for people to be able to say how they are feeling or their opinion or what they are doing, within reason. They should not have to worry about being monitored without them knowing. Usually, a person will know if they have the possibility of someone checking out their page, for example if they were up for a job and a potential employer was to look at their social media pages. Unfairly monitoring person without their knowledge is a clear violation of their rights and a violation of their personal thoughts and comments. Though, as Kevin has mentioned in his blog post, using it for anti-terrorism and as an aid to law enforcement could be a good move for Twitter and is a good social mission for Twitter to support even though it upsets some people, which is why they do not take responsibility for the arrests their aid has led law enforcement to. I think they should take responsibility for the arrests that they led law enforcement too because otherwise it sends the message that they are not proud of the cause they are helping and that they do not want people to know their role. Stopping terrorism and the different terrorist groups is important work and it helps keep people safe for the bad people that are in this world, it is not something that should make a company ashamed of. Also, as Kevin has mentioned, if these recruiters are idiotic enough to make their agendas known via social media, they deserve to be stopped. Twitter is stopping the hate and that is nothing that should be scoffed at or condemned. I also agree that Twitter should possibly look into a way that they can profit from law enforcement for their help because as Kevin said, they are struggling as a competitor in the social media world and making profits from this could help them boost their value again.

  2. I think that as twitter has been declining in popularity this was an important step to them. As people have become more aware of how easy it is for their tweets or statuses can be tracked they are moving away from using twitter. While I may not agree 100% with not allowing their services to be used for surveillance, this may be what they need to attract more of their users back. As Kevin said, Twitter should still allow their services to be used for tracking when it is an overall threat to our society. If a tweet is seen that could be promoting an act of terrorism than the FBI should be allowed full access to the twitter server. While people to have the right to be afraid of their privacy being taken away, they should understand the difference between invading privacy and invading privacy to protect on country. As more and more social media platforms are being created, it is crucial for our law enforcement to have control over possible threats. One tweet or status update could be the main difference between an attack and punishment. I could see why Twitter is getting away from allowing organizations using twitter for tracking. However, Twitter should have a different branch that allows our government to track those who are seen as a threat.

  3. Hey Kevin great article I had never heard of police enforcement ties with Twitter and their data until right now. It is very interesting because I have seen and , for the most part, wondered why their popularity was declining immensely. Personally, I agree with Twitters attempt to tighten their terms of service violation because police enforcement should not be able to track and arrest people based upon what they are posting on social media accounts when in reality it is freedom of speech. Furthermore, I do believe that this can be considered within reason. For example we can consider public vs private accounts. Twitter should have no issues when it comes to offering public data to the open web for the very reason that it is a public account. If the user decides to make their account public and let everyone see what they have to say then it should be filter to some extent. On the other hand it is completely acceptable for Twitter to withhold the public from personal/private accounts in which the user does not want everyone to have access to their information/data.

    This is definitely very important for Twitter to stay on top of because there is a lot of fragile and detrimental things being said on the Internet. For example there are various accounts of harassment and terrorism on social media accounts that should be monitored to an extent. Personally, I don't see how this tightening of terms is affecting Twitters business however, I can see that it still may be too loose. For example I have seen various cases of accounts being hacked where hackers will post on your page without permission. Twitter has been one of the largest business in the social media industry and should stay focused on fixing the protection and filtering of content if they want to remain so.


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