Social media giant Twitter, Inc. faces a class-action lawsuit for allegedly eavesdropping on its users direct messages, which could mean bad news for the company.
Social media network Twitter faces a class action lawsuit surrounding claims that it has been eavesdropping on users’ private direct messages. According to a report from RT, the suit also claims that the site has been altering direct messages without the users’ consent.
According to the complaint filed, “Twitter surreptitiously eavesdrops on its users’ private Direct Message communications. As soon as a user sends a Direct Message, Twitter intercepts, reads, and at times, even alters the message.”
The suit is focused on Twitter’s method of shortening URL addresses. If a person shares a link with another user via direct message, twitter will change the web address to a t.co link through the use of an algorithm, though it still displays the original URL to both users.
The lawsuit claims that even though the changes to direct messages are made by a computer, it is still an illegal invasion of users’ privacy. The suit specifically cites the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in addition to California’s privacy laws.
Twitter sends its users to the company’s analytics servers before they reach their destination, and the company benefits by revealing where traffic is coming from to the owners of the websites that users share in direct messages.
Users are claiming damages as high as $100 daily, and historically, tech companies have had a difficult time getting these types of class action lawsuits dismissed.