A lawsuit seeing class action status has been filed against Twitter in a San Francisco federal court. The suit, brought by Wilford Raney, alleges Twitter’s direct messaging platform isn’t as private as one is led to believe.
The suit claims that as soon as a user sends a direct message, Twitter intercepts, reads and even alters the message on occasion. Specifically, Raney takes issue with the way Twitter handles hyperlinks sent via direct message.
The plaintiff notes that if a direct message is sent that includes a link to The New York Times, for example, Twitter goes in and replaces the link with a shortened version using its link-shortening tool before sending it on its way to the recipient. When the recipient clicks the link, the plaintiff says, analytical data is sent back to Twitter.
If you recall, Twitter recently did away with its 140-character limit for direct messages. Why is the company still using a link-shortening tool with direct messages? The suit claims the tactic helps Twitter’s advertising business as they’re able to provide analytics to advertisers to see how much traffic they’re driving.
The suit claims such actions violate the Electronic Communications Privacy Act as well as California’s privacy law. It aims to represent those in the US that have sent a direct message as well as those that have received such correspondence.
A spokesperson for the popular microblogging platform told The Wall Street Journal that the claims are meritless and that they intend to fight them.