Tools

Twitter developer platform and user privacy

By Rob Johnson
Thursday, 26 April 2018

It’s important that anyone using Twitter can easily understand how our service works and the control every user has over their own data. At its core, Twitter is about public conversation. When you Tweet, you’re making a public statement, and people respond to and interact with that statement publicly. All of that activity generates publicly available data that is of potential interest to developers and businesses who want to offer Twitter customers experiences and services they might value. We help them do that on our developer platform through our APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces.

This post provides more information on three components related to our developer platform and user privacy: transparency, control, and approved uses.

Transparency

Even for people who will never use one of our developer products, it’s our job to appropriately educate and provide resources to those who wish to understand how their data may be used in our developer platform. The Twitter APIs page on our Help Center explains how and which user information is shared through our platform. We also have clear language in our Privacy Policy that explains Twitter’s purpose as a public forum and how information shared publicly on Twitter may be disseminated through embedded Tweets or APIs.

While our API platform provides broad access to public Twitter data that users have chosen to share with the world, some of our APIs allow users to manage their own non-public Twitter communications (e.g., Direct Messages) and provide this information to developers whom they have authorized to do so. Access to this information is not granted by default, and we do not sell Direct Messages.

Control

Just as important as clarity around how data might be shared and used on our developer platform are the controls we provide for people to choose if and how they want to take part:

  • Protecting Tweets: Choosing to protect your Tweets means they will not be shared through our developer platform unless it’s to show those Tweets to your followers or to a developer whom one of your followers has expressly authorized to access their account.
  • Managing Applications: You’re in full control of which applications have access to your account, and you can review and select which developer applications you’ve authorized to access your non-public communications (such as Direct Messages) on your behalf. You can revoke access to applications at any time.
  • Deleting Content: When content like Tweets or geotags are deleted, we no longer make them available to developers through our APIs.

Approved uses

Keeping people on Twitter safe is a top priority for us, and is reflected in our policies and practices for managing how developers use Twitter data. We prohibit developers from inferring or deriving sensitive information like race or political affiliation, or attempts to match a user’s Twitter information with other personal identifiers in unexpected ways. For more information on what types of behaviors are not tolerated on the Twitter developer platform, see the Restricted Uses page. Developers who are found to be in violation of our policies are subject to enforcement actions, including immediate termination.

These policies and procedures are built to accommodate the wide range of developers who build on Twitter’s platform: from those seeking short-term access for a one-time project to some of the world’s largest software companies who rely on our data to power insights and analytics products.  For users of our commercial data platform, developers must complete a rigorous review and approval process before we grant them access to Twitter data via our enterprise and premium APIs, and are subject to regular reviews and policy checks once they have access. In the coming months, we will share even more details about expanding this review and approval process to all developers using our platform.

We look forward to continuing to improve Twitter’s data platform to enable developers to build useful solutions that benefit people on Twitter, and are committed to protecting the privacy and data of everyone who uses our service.

 

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Rob Johnson

‎@robjohnson‎

Twitter Developer Platform

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