Now X/Twitter Wants Your Biometric Data and Employment History

The new TOS goes into effect on September 29, so you'll have until then to keep your biometric data to yourself.

Data privacy is important to many people in the tech industry. To them, we say: It's time to get off of X/Twitter.

A new privacy policy is arriving for X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, and it gives the company the right to scoop up a ton of sensitive personal data.

Your biometric information, your school history, and your employment history are just a few of the details on the list.

What X/Twitter's New Terms of Service Require

The new TOS goes into effect on September 29, so you'll have until then to keep your biometric data secure, since the current privacy policy will leave it alone.

Here's a small slice of the updated TOS, which can be read in full here:

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  • Biometric Information. Based on your consent, we may collect and use your biometric information for safety, security, and identification purposes.
  • Job Applications / Recommendations. We may collect and use your personal information (such as your employment history, educational history, employment preferences, skills and abilities, job search activity and engagement, and so on) to recommend potential jobs for you, to share with potential employers when you apply for a job, to enable employers to find potential candidates, and to show you more relevant advertising.

The new policy doesn't get any more specific than that for many of the categories of data that it wants you to allow it access to. What kind of biometrics can be harvested? Face scans, for unlocking the app? How long will they keep your employment history? Can it be bought or sold to third parties?

These questions have kept IT professionals concerned all across the tech industry for decades. Facebook's lax standards on which companies it allowed to access user data have been tied to shadowy political movements around the world, for instance.

Other tech companies including Google, YouTube, Fitbit, and many telecom giants have all gotten in hot water for their data collection policies. So has Twitter, even under its previous owners and its less intense TOS.

Last year, the TikTok head of global security, Roland Cloutier, stepped down over questions about what one report termed the platform's “excessive” levels of data harvesting. It's a serious concern that remains a hot topic.

What's Next for X/Twitter?

Say what you will about the social media platform, there's no escaping the exhaustingly rapid-fire news cycles that X/Twitter manages to stay in the center of.

Recently, we've seen news about: The announcement that headlines will be removed from news articles posted on the service, the $350,000 that the DOJ fined the company for delaying a data handover, a bill from San Francisco city authorities for installing a since-removed “X” sign on its building, and a lawsuit from the oldest news agency in the world over failing to pay for its services.

And that's just news that broke this month.

I guess if we think about the screentime we've collectively donated in order to read all these stories as a type of biometric data, we're losing plenty of it to X/Twitter already.

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Written by:
Adam is a writer at Tech.co and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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