Tuesday October 11, 2016

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter Provided Data Access for a Surveillance Product

The ACLU is taking Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to task for providing data access to third parties, including law enforcement. In response to the report, Twitter says it has suspended commercial access to data for at least one company named in the report.

The ACLU of California has obtained records showing that Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram provided user data access to Geofeedia, a developer of a social media monitoring product that we have seen marketed to law enforcement as a tool to monitor activists and protesters. We are pleased that after we reported our findings to the companies, Instagram cut off Geofeedia’s access to public user posts, and Facebook has cut its access to a topic-based feed of public user posts. Twitter has also taken some recent steps to rein in Geofeedia though it has not ended the data relationship.