If you’re not paying for a service, then you’re the product. That’s been the reality of social media for some time now and it’s coming out now that Twitter has sold access to your information to two research companies who will release it to clients who pay for the ability to mine the data.
There are different packages that Twitter has made available. Datasift Inc. has the “big” package with data going back two years, while Gnip Inc. offers data that goes back 30 days.
“Harvesting what someone said a year or more ago is game-changing,” said Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy for the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
There’s nothing diabolical here, really. Twitter data that is publicly available could be mined without them being in the mix and users are able to set their account for private and protect information such as location and Tweets. This will spark waves of criticism but it comes down to choice. Those who use social media have given up some levels of privacy. To think otherwise is foolish.
“As we see Twitter grow and social media evolve, this will become a bigger and bigger issue,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant Sophos Ltd.
This “issue” will only be acknowledged by media. Users are smarter than most think and are not only aware about the risks of putting their data and personal information online but likely believe the sale of their data is already happening.