May 20, 2022

“Twitter Hit With Class Action Lawsuit for Eavesdropping on Direct Messages”

From The Hollywood Reporter:

To most Twitter users, URL link shorteners are a convenient way to stuff more into a 140-character message. But a proposed class action lawsuit filed on Monday alleges that the social media service is using them in violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California’s privacy law.

The complaint brought in federal court in San Francisco from Wilford Raney and others similarly situated is claiming that despite Twitter’s assurances that users are allowed to “talk privately” among one another, “Twitter surreptitiously eavesdrops on its users’ private Direct Message communications. As soon as a user sends a Direct Message, Twitter intercepts, reads, and, at times, even alters the message.”

The article goes on to discuss a similar suit brought against Google and Gmail in 2013.

From The Wall Street Journal:

“When you have a privacy policy and the company is not being clear or transparent about what they’re doing, the reason is usually because economic gain is really their focus,” said Jay Edelson, managing partner at the Chicago-based firm Edelson PC that is representing Mr. Raney.

Mr. Edelson said that its internal forensic experts were able to piece together how and why Twitter replaced the hyperlinks with its own URL shortener. But it has yet to come across evidence that Twitter was actually able to charge higher advertising rates thanks to the traffic data gleaned from intercepting hyperlinks sent through direct messages. “That’s obviously going to be a focal point of the litigation,” he said, adding “we feel confident that we understand why they’re doing it.” Mr. Edelson said a lot of people have been contacting the firm with questions since the lawsuit was filed this week.

Read the Complete WSJ Article

Complaint: Raney v Twitter by LJ's infoDOCKET

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.