Scan Friends on Twitter

Twitter Inc. has recently admitted that the company stores all names, email addresses and phone numbers from the contact list of iPhone users after they tap the “Find friends” feature on Twitter’s iOS app. Twitter also accepts that the company keeps the data gained from this action for almost 18 months on it’s servers.

However, Twitter Inc. does not explicitly mention it’s above action in the company’s privacy policy, but the policy does state:

Log Data may include information such as your IP address, browser type, the referring domain, pages visited, your mobile carrier, device and application IDs, and search terms,” the policy says. “Other actions, such as interactions with our website, applications and advertisements, may also be included in Log Data.

An example could be:

As we all are aware that almost every social network now has an option to ‘scan contacts’ from services previously been used by a user, this feature helps a user finding if their friends and family members are already using the network or not.

Same is with Twitter, it allows a user to scan  his/her contacts. But in the case discussed above Twitter does the scanning of contacts via user’s phone address book, and when it completes the scanning, it automatically stores all information gained from the address book into it’s servers without notifying the user about it.

However on this issue a Twitter spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times:

“We want to be clear and transparent in our communications with users,” Penner wrote in an email. “Along those lines, in our next app updates, which are coming soon, we are updating the language associated with Find Friends — to be more explicit. In place of ‘Scan your contacts,’ we will use “Upload your contacts” and “Import your contacts” (in Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android, respectively).

In my opinion, Twitter should have already provided the correct details of its policies, so that those users who didn’t want their contacts’ private information to be stored by a company could have known the consequences of installing Twitter’s iOS app.