Compliance Management, Government Regulations, Privacy, Threat Management

Twitter faces privacy lawsuit over Direct Messages algorithm

Twitter is facing a $5 million potential class action lawsuit, which claims that by using its Direct Message link shortener algorithms the company violates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California's privacy law.

The complaint filed in federal court Monday accused the social media company of “systematically intercepting, reading, and altering the private messages of its users without their knowledge or consent,” when they shortened and redirected links in messages, according to court documents.

Twitter violates user privacy expectations when it replaces links in private tweets with “” links that contain referral code credit that can help Twitter increase its perceived value to third-party websites, the complaint said, because the company is scanning private messages. That doesn't meet user privacy expectations because Twitter, the plaintiffs claimed, says that tweets can only be read by the sender and its recipients.  

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