Twitter has acknowledged that it has given access to a vast trove of public user data to Global Science Research (GSR), a marketing strategist that leverages big data run by Aleksandr Kogan, the academic psychologist and data scientist at the center of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal.
According to Twitter, it granted data access to GSR for a fee, allowing the company to obtain one-time access to random public posts on its microblogging platform covering a period of five months ending April 2015. Twitter, however, maintains that GSR did not gain access to any private information about its users, based on the findings of its internal review of the affair. The San Francisco, California-based social network company is among the internet giants that regulators and lawmakers in the United States are looking into following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and other issues affecting internet users such as misinformation and hate speech. Earlier this month, it was reported that Twitter and Google could also face separate inquiries from Capitol Hill after lawmakers recently hurled questions at Facebook co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg over the social media giant’s data collection practices and how it handles user privacy as a whole as part of two congressional hearings held earlier this month.
It’s no secret that Twitter has a policy of providing public data access to third-party entities and developers through the platform’s application programming interfaces (APIs), which are used to request and send data meant to be examined for the purpose of evaluating activity indicators like user interactions and the kind of posts people share on the platform. However, it’s not only enterprises and researchers that have access to Twitter’s vast trove of user data as governments across the world are also granted access to it to a certain degree, though the firm is now trying to limit such practices.