Twitter Still Not Fully Secure; API Reveals Exact Location of Users

Twitter came under fire late last year for revealing the country codes for a lot of the numbers that had been used to register for the site. This put people in danger, especially those that used Twitter from ostensibly undisclosed locations for the purposes of anonymity, security or privacy. While Twitter did fix that particular bug, it seems that the social media platform has yet to work as hard as it truly needs to in order to give its users the privacy they deserve.

Twitter users often added geotags to the metadata of their tweets, but unbeknownst to them Twitter was also logging their specific GPS coordinates. A study recently conducted by a global team of researchers involved the use of a tool that was able to use this existing data to pinpoint your exact location. This goes way beyond the problems associated with exposed country codes because of the fact that it can make it ridiculously easy for malicious actors to ascertain the location of sensitive people.

That being said, the company stopped collecting this data about 4 years ago. However, the fact of the matter is that all tweets that were posted before this date still have the metadata and therefore the exact GPS coordinates of where that user was when they posted that specific tweet. All you need to do to access this data is access Twitter’s API, and that’s not that difficult to do.

The social media platform has attempted to defend itself by saying that they always offer users the option to delete their data. However, this is not much of an option because of the fact that users often don’t know how much data is being collected so they might not feel the need to delete it.

Twitter API Still Offers Some Private Information Like Where You Lived and Worked: Study
Photo: Hocus-focus / Getty Images

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