Privacy and Twitter

Topics: Privacy, Twitter, Information privacy Pages: 6 (1948 words) Published: March 20, 2013
Executive Summary
Twitter Inc. was established in 2006 in California, United States. It provides free services to users, which enables them to send short messages (up to 140 characters long) called “tweets” to keep their friends and followers up-to-date with what they are doing. It helps users to share information with the rest of the world. Twitter experienced rapid growth worldwide and became one of the most popular social networking and micro-blogging sites in 2010. Although the company gained substantial popularity, its main sources of revenue are still from venture capital and promoted tweets. Twitter’s long-term survival depends on its own ability to generate revenue. The founders of the company want to know how to open up more channels to generate revenue, while respecting users’ privacy concern. After viewing Facebook and Google’s privacy missteps, Twitter and its partners Google and Microsoft are more uncertain as to whether they should develop the data-mining platform to gain extra revenue. If they do, what should they mine and how should they prevent themselves from breaching privacy laws? This report will outline the issues Twitter’s founders are facing and give three options the company can undertake to achieve its goal, followed by a recommendation. This report will also evaluate Canada’s privacy law – PIPEDA and examine how Twitter’s Privacy Policy complies with the PIPEDA.

Stakeholders and Preferences Founders of Twitter: Jack (Chairman), Evan (CEO) and Biz (Creative Director) want to their company to grow and succeed in the long run. As well, they want to find a safer way to utilize the database, which contains personal information and personal messages, to generate revenue, and respect their legal and ethical obligation to their users at the same time. Users of Twitter: They use Twitter to share personal information and keep their followers up to date with new events. They want to make sure the company is protecting their privacy and their personal information is not being used in any unethical or illegal way. The two Partners: Google and Microsoft are both very interested in the data-mining project as they see the potential of generating large amount of revenue. They work with Twitter to find a way to effectively use data to generate revenue. Meanwhile, they are both concerned over privacy issues, given the sensitive information they are dealing with. Regulators: Oversee Twitter from a legal perspective. They provide guidelines on how to use personal information in a way that protects Twitter users’ privacy. They make sure Twitter follows the privacy laws and they actively make changes to the law to deal with arising issues. Government: They make sure Twitter practices its business under the laws and make sure that Twitter provides benefit to the society, instead of harm. Other Developers and Marketers: Developers, such as, develop application for other organizations to take advantage of Twitter’s public tweets as a way of making profit. Marketers want to use Twitter’s information to make money as well. They depend on valuable information they obtain from Twitter to make money and would not want Twitter to take a way this right/ this market. Issues Facing the Founders of Twitter Issue 1: Company’s lack of long term revenue generating plan Twitter’s main source of capital is from venture capital and...
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