Twitter fake tweets backlash: Do you own your online identity?
It hasn't been a great week for Twitter - they've barely been out of the news.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have noticed that women’s campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez has been in the papers over threatening and abusive tweets she received following a successful campaign to have Jane Austen’s face on a bank note.
But the social networking site was in hot water last week as well for a controversial gaff where they faked tweets from real users for a mock-up promotion of a new ad platform.
It’s not exactly new that accounts get hijacked on the social media platform, but the hijacker being Twitter themselves? Surely not!
The fweets (yep, I’ve just made that word up), that were featured in a blog post on Twitter’s site, seemed to show users raving about coffee shop TV commercials to promote Twitter Ads and TV advertisement integration.
But it soon came to light that, while the users were real, the tweets were completely made up. What’s worse, the users weren’t even told that their accounts were being used in the blog, which was sent out to hundreds of thousands of users and retweeted to 1.5 million people.
Twitter did send out an apology on Wednesday after the gaff was discovered saying: “An earlier version of this blog post included an image with mock Tweets from real users of our platform. This was not OK.
“Once we became aware of this mistake we took it down immediately. We deeply apologize to the three users included in the earlier images.”
However, the users who had their accounts hijacked were less than impressed. William Mazeo tweeted: ”@TwitterAds -_- don’t do this again,” and was joined by fellow victim Neil Gottlieb who added: ”Still nothing but an empty apology from Twitter for violating my privacy.”
The tweets have now been replaced by mocked up ones from Twitter employee’s accounts.
But, is the damage done? The whole debacle has sparked the question: Do you really own your Twitter identity?
Well, the Twitter Terms of Service state: “You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to provide, promote, and improve the Services and to make Content submitted to or through the Services available to other companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Twitter for the syndication, broadcast, distribution or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use.
“But what’s yours is yours – you own your Content (and your photos are part of that Content).”
Twitter want us to know that we own everything we post on their site, but that they can use that content however they like. But using people’s identities to fake tweets to boost their ad revenue? There is no mention of that in the Terms of Service, so I’m pretty sure we can deduce that that’s definitely not okay!
So, was this just a genuine mistake by Twitter, or a more sinister foresight into the future where our online identities can be used and manipulated without penalty?
Will you be more paranoid about your identity being used by companies online following this?
Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter @BubbleJobs!
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