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Formerly Twitter, X to Collect Biometric and Employment Data

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In a significant move, X, formerly recognized as Twitter, is set to implement a revised privacy policy, including the collection of biometric data from its users, which encompasses facial photographs. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of this privacy policy update and its implications.

The Evolution of X Premium

X’s subscription service, X Premium, allows users to submit a selfie and photo ID for verification. This marks a notable departure from its earlier avatar, Twitter. X aims to enhance user security and tailor their experience by allowing users to provide these personal details voluntarily.

Beyond Biometric Data

Beyond facial recognition, X’s privacy policy also outlines its intention to gather its users’ employment and educational histories. The primary objective behind this move is to facilitate more personalized job recommendations. When you apply for a job through the platform, X may share this information with potential employers, streamlining the hiring process.

Exploring New Horizons

Speculation abounds that X might be venturing into recruitment services. Recent reports suggest that X Corp’s acquisition of Laskie, a tech recruiting service, was a strategic move in this direction. This development, the first significant move after Elon Musk acquired Twitter for a staggering $44 billion, indicates the platform’s ambitions to diversify its offerings.

Implementation Timeline

The revamped privacy policy is slated to go into effect on September 29th. Its provisions state that X will utilize personal information, including employment and educational histories, employment preferences, skills, and job search activities, to recommend potential job opportunities. This data will also be shared with prospective employers and used to connect employers with suitable candidates, all while presenting users with more relevant advertisements.

The Analyst Perspective

Liberty Vittert, a data science professor at Washington University in St. Louis, suggests that X’s move aligns with its goal of providing more targeted and individualized user experiences akin to platforms like LinkedIn. However, she advises users to be cautious because employers who scrutinize tweets, retweets, or accounts followed when hiring decisions could potentially misuse this data.

A Question of Ethics

On the other hand, Dr. Stephanie Hare, a tech ethics researcher, views this data collection as a substantial but consensual effort. She believes that since users have the option to participate voluntarily, it does not pose a threat to civil liberties. It’s important to note that providing biometric data is a choice for X Premium users.

The Purpose of Biometric Data

X emphasizes that collecting biometric data, including facial scans and fingerprints, is specifically intended for X Premium users. The company clarifies that this data will be used for verification when users provide their government-issued ID and a selfie. This two-factor authentication process is designed to enhance security and combat impersonation on the platform.

A Vision for the Future

Elon Musk, the driving force behind X, has reiterated the platform’s plan to introduce video and audio calls. This feature is expected to be available on iOS, Android, Mac, and PC, with no requirement for a phone number.

Musk envisions X as the ultimate global address book, aiming to offer an all-in-one solution for various online services. While no specific date has been provided for the rollout of the new calling feature, it underscores X’s commitment to evolving into an “everything app.”

A Comparative Note

It’s worth noting that TikTok, a prominent player in the social media landscape, also collects biometric data in the United States. Their privacy policy mentions the collection of biometric identifiers and information, including faceprints and voiceprints.

However, it’s important to highlight that in a Senate hearing last year, TikTok’s then-COO clarified that the company did not employ facial, voice, audio, or body recognition for individual identification.

In conclusion, X’s latest privacy policy update reflects its determination to provide enhanced user experiences and branch out into the recruitment sector. While this move is voluntary for users and offers increased security, it raises important questions about privacy and ethics.

Users can expect further updates to its privacy policies and features as X transforms into a multifaceted platform. Stay tuned for more developments in the ever-evolving world of X.

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