Twitter Inc Breaks Up With Snaptrends Over Mining Tweets For Police

Twitter Inc Breaks Up With Snaptrends Over Mining Tweets For Police
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Twitter continues to cut ties with social media monitoring companies that provide information to law enforcement. On Thursday, the micro-blogging giant confirmed to Mashable that it ended its relationship with Snaptrends, a social media surveillance company headquartered in Austin, Texas. The Daily Dot was the first to report about the Snaptrends breakup.

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Twitter breaks up with Snaptrends

Snaptrends developed its software intelligence system to serve national intelligence agencies and public safety organizations in the United States, according to correspondence between the company’s director of sales and Austin police published in 2015 by The Austin Chronicle.

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The privacy policy on the surveillance company’s website says, “In certain situations, Snaptrends may be required to disclose personal data in response to lawful requests by public authorities, including to meet national security or law enforcement requirements.”

According to The Daily Dot, the company touts how it helped increase the number of arrests a police department was able to carry out when executing warrants. The surveillance company has also provided several police groups access to its software.

Last week, Twitter cut ties Geofeedia for similar reasons. After an ACLU investigation disclosed that Geofeedia had marketed its software to police departments to track protestors and activists, the social network severed its ties with the company. The micro-blogging firm has a company policy that prohibits third parties from selling Twitter data to surveil users. Recently Instagram and Facebook did the same, notes Mashable.

Snaptrends and Geofeedia are not the only social media surveillance companies. Products and companies like Beware, Media Sonar and Digital Stakeout have marketed and provided their services to various law enforcement groups as well. These types of surveillance often have a disproportionate impact on black communities, says Mashable.

Takeover talks to start after earnings

In recent years, the micro-blogging site has spent aggressively on marketing and product development, hoping it could afford to post losses as long as it gets a better user base. However, after the service exceeded 300 million active monthly users, that growth stalled.

Twitter reportedly hired bankers to explore selling itself. Media and tech companies including The Walt Disney Company, and Google were said to have looked at the micro-blogging service but passed on buying it. The company is set to report its earnings on Oct. 27, and then the takeover talk will be back in the spotlight.

Suggesting that job cuts may be an option, David Hsu, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, said the site is going to make some bold moves here, according to Reuters.

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