The Mystery of Twitter’s Free Pass

Facebook has received a great deal of attention for its participation in the world’s largest ever data scandal. It has been cited and fined by the UK; cited by the UN (pdf); and has been raked over the coals several times by the US Congress.

Even though Twitter’s CEO Jack has been called in front of Congress, Twitter hasn’t received—by far—the media attention, legal and financial repercussions, or public blow-back. But the reality is that Twitter mimicked Facebook when it came to compromising users’ personal data.

Like Facebook, Twitter sold user data to Cambridge Analytica operative, Dr. Kogan. This is particularly concerning because Twitter has made selling data one of its core profit-making services. While Twitter claims that it only sold publicly available data, it is impossible to know if this is true without an external, independent audit of Twitter.

It seems less than logical to trust the word of a company financed largely by Russian institutions with connections to Jared Kushner.

Russian Twitter Investors - Jared Kushner Connection

This is particularly notable given that Russia’s propaganda machine has been in full swing on Twitter’s platform. And, it still is.

Five Thirty Eight - Ongoing Russian Trolling

Fake Russian accounts have been repeatedly exposed to Twitter. In this instance, 40 million fake Russian accounts were pointed out to Twitter.

Unhackthevote - Russian Bot Thread

Yet, as of today (November 8, 2018), these accounts are still active on Twitter.

Given what we know about Russia’s use of social media to nefariously influence US elections, it is alarming that Russia is continuing to create millions of accounts that are made to appear as if they are real people. It is even more alarming that Twitter doesn’t identify them and is slow to remove them once they are pointed out.

US social media platforms have sold our personal data for profit; they have allowed their platforms to be used against our democracy and others’. It is the biggest data scandal in human history.

While Facebook has suffered notable repercussions from their participation in the scandal, it remains a mystery that Twitter has avoided much of the same scrutiny even though it had—at least—equal involvement.

By Virginia Murr, Character HQ