Did Twitter tell Dataminr to stop feeding intelligence agencies?

twitter keyword filter abuse version 1477952559 man holding iphone 6 with on the screen
Twitter has reportedly barred information discovery company Dataminr from providing its services to intelligence agencies. While Twitter is remaining coy in its public response to the story, it’s thought that authorities had been using Dataminr for around two years.

Dataminr is the only outlet that is given access to a real-time feed of every tweet published via Twitter, according to a report from The Verge. It’s clear that the social media giant sees promise in Dataminr’s services, as it holds a 5 percent stake in the company.

It’s easy to see why intelligence agencies would be interested in the service being offered by Dataminr. The company claims that it delivered word of the terror attacks in Brussels that took place in March of this year some ten minutes before news reports hit, sorting through the chaff of social media posts to get to the facts.

It’s thought that Dataminr began supplying information to authorities after the company received funding from a venture capital firm called In-Q-Tel. Founded in 1999, that not-for-profit firm invests in technology companies with the primary intention of delivering cutting-edge equipment and resources to the CIA and others.

However, Twitter is now putting a stop to the links between Dataminr and the U.S. intelligence community. According to a statement released by the company, the government will have to resign itself to reviewing public accounts just as any other user would.

Reports linking Twitter to intelligence agencies are always going to prompt surveillance fears, but Twitter maintains that it has long held a policy that forbids data being sold for such purposes. Still, the company hasn’t cut ties with authorities completely; it’s thought that Dataminr still holds a $255,000 contract with the Department of Homeland Security.

Emerging Tech

Twitter is officially a teenager now. Are we raising a monster?

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet. Thirteen years later, Twitter has fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Here are some of the myriad ways it's done that.

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.
Movies & TV

Disney completes its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox

Now that Walt Disney Company has closed its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's movie and television assets, what does this future hold for franchises like X-Men, the Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, and the rest?
Social Media

Twitter is testing a handy subscription feature for following threads

Twitter has recently started testing a feature that lets you subscribe to a thread so that you’ll no longer need to like a comment or post to it yourself in order to receive notifications of new contributions.
Social Media

Yep, it’s not just you. Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp are down for many

Facebook's family of apps has been suffering issues for much of the day. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook itself have been out of action for users around the world, with the company scrambling to sort it out.
Social Media

Facebook may soon let you watch live TV with friends in Watch Party

Facebook Watch Party is designed to allow friends to watch together, even when they can't be in the same physical space. Now, that feature could be expanding to include live TV. Facebook announced a test of the feature, starting with live…
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.

Snapchat could soon let you play games in between your selfies

If a new report is accurate, Snapchat will be getting an integrated gaming platform in April. The platform will feature mobile games form third-party developers, and one publisher is already signed on.
Social Media

Your Google+ public content will remain viewable on the web, if you want it to

Google's failed social network — Google+ — will soon be wiped from the internet, but there's a team of volunteers working right now to save its public content for the Internet Archive.

There’s more space on MySpace after ‘accidental’ wipe of 50 million songs

MySpace is no longer a safe refuge for music and media produced in the 2000s. It said that almost any artistic content uploaded to the site between 2003 and 2015 may have been lost as part of a server migration last year.

Intel and Facebook team up to give Cooper Lake an artificial intelligence boost

Intel's upcoming Cooper Lake microarchitecture will be getting a boost when it comes to artificial intelligence processes, thanks to a partnership with Facebook. The results are CPUs that are able to work faster.
Social Media

New Zealand attack shows that as A.I. filters get smarter, so do violators

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand were livestreamed to social media, and while stats show networks are improving at removing offending videos, as the system improves, so do the violators' workarounds.

Insta-checkout? New Instagram service lets you shop without leaving the platform

Shopping on Instagram no longer means leaving the platform to checkout in a web browser. Instagram checkout launched in beta today with a handful of retailers, allowing users to checkout without leaving the app.