Twitter Launches New Privacy Center

On December 2, Twitter launched a new privacy center to serve as the central web location for its privacy and data protection efforts. The center will provide information about Twitter’s initiatives and announcements, new privacy products and features and other communication as it relates to privacy and security.

While Twitter stated it wanted a central spot for privacy and protection information, the EU’s GDPR data protection regulation and other data privacy and protection laws, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act, likely inspired or sped up the process.

As a result of the new privacy center, Twitter has updated its terms and privacy policy. The privacy center breaks information down separately for users or partners.

Under the new privacy policy, Twitter has separated users in the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA) from those elsewhere. The European account data is controlled by Twitter International Company. All other user data is controlled by Twitter Inc. Twitter will now be able to test features and settings only on EU users and to create a different set of rules or controls for EU users, allowing for the accommodation of strict EU data and privacy regulation laws like the GDPR. This could include testing addition opt-in or opt-out features.

“We want to be able to experiment without immediately running afoul of the GDPR provisions,” Damien Kieran, Twitter’s data protection officer, said to Reuters. “The goal is to learn from those experiments and then to provide those same experiences to people all around the world.”

Twitter’s new terms and policy also clarify details, such as the use of intellectual property, how data is processed and how tweets are used by its team. The update clarifies and provides more information about the data that advertisers might receive. The changes will take effect on January 1, 2020.

The new policy is in compliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act, which requires large businesses to be more transparent with consumers and give them more control of their personal information.

Twitter also explained how privacy and data protection will work in the future, emphasizing its next steps: “1) to fix Twitter’s technical debt — meaning upgrading older systems to support their current uses; 2) to build privacy into all new products it launches; and 3) accountability.”

In a blog post, Twitter stated, “It’s so common to hear tech companies say: ‘Privacy is not a privilege; it is a fundamental right’ that those words have become a cliche. People have become desensitized to hearing companies say, ‘we value your privacy,’ and are worn out from being asked to accept privacy policies that they rarely, if ever, even read…We believe companies should be accountable to the people that trust them with their personal information, and responsible not only to protect that information but to explain how they do it.” The company used this as the reasoning behind the launch of its Privacy Center.

Twitter is also working to upgrade its systems and add privacy to new products. This announcement comes after it was revealed in October that personal contact information for two-factor authentication may have been used for advertising.