Twitter direct messages have always been a commitment to safety. The DMs you send to friends and strangers online are not end-to-end encrypted, making your conversations potentially accessible if data is leaked on Twitter, or to company employees with access rights to them. Both scenarios are perhaps more likely in Elon Musk’s version of Twitter, where key security and data protection staff fired.
Since Musk acquired Twitter and began laying off thousands of employees in early November, reshaping the firm in line with his vision, numerous tweeters have left the platform. When they do this, they often try to download their Twitter archive and delete the DM. In chaos, the process often crashed.
However, in Europe people turned to the continent. GDPR Data Laws, which give people rights to how their information is collected, stored and used. This includes the right to delete data. However, Twitter’s response to these requests, which was seen by WIRED, appears to show that the platform is ignoring detailed requests to remove DMs and is simply pointing people to a general guideline that doesn’t explain whether Twitter removes your DMs from their servers. . And now European data regulators are stepping in.
“On Twitter, the delete button doesn’t do what users think it does,” says Michael Veal, an assistant professor of digital rights and regulation at the Faculty of Law at University College London. “If you delete your direct messages on the app or website, they are not deleted from the Twitter server,” Wiele says.
For years there has been no clarity as to what the built-in Twitter tools actually do to delete your posts. On a social networking site, there are theoretically two ways to delete the DMs you’ve sent. In your Inbox, you can delete entire conversations, and in Messages, you can delete individual messages.
None of these options actually delete your posts. If you delete entire conversations, Twitter says, they’re removed from your inbox but still available to the person you’re chatting with. Meanwhile, if you delete an individual message, Twitter tells you that the people you sent it to “can still see it.” Twitter help center says messages and conversations “removed from your account only.” They don’t say messages are being deleted from his systems or servers.
Previous studies have shown that remote DM stored on Twitter servers for years. In 2022, Twitter whistleblower and former security chief Pieter “Maj” Zatko stated that in some cases where Twitter deletes data.
In early November, Vail created a guide to Europe. can be used to request that Twitter remove the DM from their servers. In the manual, Veal says that a “disaster scenario” is a data breach similar to Ashley Madison Hack 2015where people’s private lives have been circulated on the Internet. Journalists, activists, protesters and more have relied on Twitter messages in the past decade to share personal information and connect with those who may be at risk.