Deleting Twitter DMs proves to be a challenge for users

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Arstechnica recently published a report on the difficulties that Twitter users face when attempting to delete their direct messages (DMs). Despite the social media platform’s claims of giving users control over their personal data, deleting DMs appears to be more difficult than expected.

Twitter’s privacy policy, according to the report, states that users have the right to control their personal data, including the ability to delete their direct messages. In practice, however, many users find the process of deleting DMs difficult. This is due to the complexity of Twitter’s architecture and the platform’s user interface limitations.

“Twitter’s privacy policy states that users have the right to control their personal data, including the ability to delete their DMs. In practice, however, the process is far from straightforward,” wrote the author of the report.

People in Europe, on the other hand, have turned to the continent’s GDPR data laws, which give them control over how their information is collected, stored, and used. This includes the ability to request that data be deleted. Twitter’s response appears to show the platform ignoring detailed requests to delete DMs and instead directing users to generic guidance that does not explain whether Twitter deletes DMs from its servers.

“On Twitter, the delete button does not do what users think it does,” says Michael Veale, an associate professor focusing on digital rights and regulation in the Faculty of Laws at University College London. “If you delete your direct messages within the app or on the website, it does not remove them from Twitter’s server,” Veale says.

According to the report, when a user deletes a DM, it only disappears from the user’s view, not the recipient. This means that even if the sender has deleted the DM, the recipient can still access it.

Twitter should improve its user interface and make deleting direct messages easier for its users. The social media behemoth must also ensure that deleted direct messages are truly deleted and are no longer accessible to the recipient. These changes would not only improve Twitter users’ privacy and security but would also be consistent with the platform’s privacy policy.

The sources for this piece include an article in ArsTechnica.

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