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Twitter Retains Private Messages Even After They’re Deleted – Report

One News Page Staff Monday, 18 February 2019
Twitter Retains Private Messages Even After They’re Deleted – Reportby 👨‍💻 Simon Baxendale

In a day and age where so much of our lives are based online, it would be nice to think that whenever we choose to ‘delete’ something, they remain ‘deleted’. However, with cloud storage and certain privacy policies coming into play, that isn’t always going to be the case. According to a recent report by TechCrunch, Twitter seems to have fallen foul of such behavior, as it appears that they may be retaining private or direct messages (known commonly as DMs) despite users having deleted them outright.

Karan Saini, a security researcher in contact with TechCrunch, advised that evidence had been found to show that Twitter had been retaining DMs which were several years old. Saini had discovered such data having downloaded his own data archive from the network. The archive showed that even DMS sent and received by accounts no longer active online were retained. This news has raised concerns with privacy campaigners and Twitter users alike, particularly as the platform’s own privacy policy confirms that deactivating and deleting your account will lead them to be erased within 30 days of action.

However, Saini’s evidence suggests otherwise. This archive appears to suggest that some data from suspended or discarded accounts could still be accessed should other people they may have interacted with wish to download their own history. Twitter has allowed users to download all of their social data for some time now – what’s missing, however, is the functionality to be able to reverse a DM, which is a policy which in itself appears to have been reversed by the brand over the years.

Twitter Keeps DMs After You Delete Them
Twitter Keeps DMs After You Delete Them [video]

Twitter has thus far offered only a vague response. It is reportedly “looking into this further to ensure we (Twitter) have considered the entire scope of the issue.” Many privacy campaigners and experts are concerned that the proof may land Twitter in hot legal water, at least as far as recent European privacy regulations are concerned. This means Twitter may be at risk of being fined heavily as a result of GDPR ruling. Whether or not that will come to pass, however, is pure speculation at this time.


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