While on the surface, this may seem like an attempt to provide value to users, it highlights the ongoing tension between personalized experiences and the ethical use of personal data.
The New Biometric Data Policy
With its roots as a microblogging site, X has evolved into a global communications platform that plays a significant role in shaping public discourse. Recognizing the growing importance of data security and user identification, the policy states:
“Based on your consent, we may collect and use your biometric information for safety, security, and identification purposes.”
However, the company’s policy does not explicitly define the scope of what constitutes biometric data, a term that typically includes information derived from a person’s distinctive physiological or behavioral characteristics, such as fingerprints, facial features, or even voice patterns.
While on the surface, this may seem like an attempt to provide value to users, it highlights the ongoing tension between personalized experiences and the ethical use of personal data. Social media platforms have faced substantial criticism from users and regulators alike for their data collection practices, often centered around the use of personal information for targeted advertising.
Elon Musk’s Influence and the Quest for Authenticity
With Elon Musk at the helm after his purchase of Twitter, the company’s priorities appear to be shifting. Musk’s emphasis on removing inauthentic accounts and promoting more human interaction on the platform is reflected in the introduction of a subscription service that offers a blue checkmark to users who pay a monthly fee.
While this move might aim to enhance user trust and interaction, it also raises questions about digital class distinctions and whether authenticity should be tied to financial means.
Earlier this year, X was served with a proposed class action lawsuit accusing the corporation of unlawfully collecting and using biometric data from Illinois residents without their authorization. At the heart of the lawsuit is the contention that X has failed to adequately inform users, knowingly or unknowingly, about the collection and storage of their biometric identifiers.
The suit, filed on July 11, claims that X captures and stores biometric data present in uploaded photographs, specifically images containing faces. The lawsuit against X highlights a significant challenge that arises in the digital age, the issue of informed consent.
While users may willingly engage with platforms and upload photos, the extent of awareness regarding the potential use of their data remains a contentious point. This case serves as a reminder that data privacy is an ethical commitment that technology businesses must prioritize in order to build user trust.