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Did Twitter Take Over a User’s Account and Read the DMs?

Did Twitter Take Over a User’s Account and Read the DMs?

While Facebook and Google are under fire for their failure to protect the data of their users, Twitter did a clear invasion of privacy when it took over a user’s account and read that user’s DMs… Or did they? Here’s what happened.

On March 25, Twitter user Matt Navarra had a brilliant idea. He wanted someone else to manage his Twitter account for a day, so he asked who wanted to be him on Twitter. @Twitter themselves volunteered, surprising Navarra and all of his followers.


That’s how the account takeover happened, and Navarra even tweeted the actual turnover:




Twitter began tweeting using Navarra’s account on Tuesday, but it temporarily changed the name to “Tweet Navarra.” (It has now been changed back to the original account name.) Here are some of the tweets which were mostly puns and sentences that make no sense at all, and Twitter even joked that these were actual drafts from Navarra’s account.


The tweets even made it to Twitter’s top posts. Account takeovers and collaborations are a great way to get new followers and retweets!

Who is Matt Navarra, anyway?

Navarra is a social media consultant. He is pretty famous for always being one of the first people to detect new features on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. He has around 42,000 followers on Twitter. He posted these stats when he posted his challenge for someone to take over his account for a day:


This shows 5.78 million impressions on 476 tweets and 136 thousand profile visits, which are impressive number for a non-brand account.

Did Twitter read Navarra’s DMs?

Since Navarra was the one who initiated the takeover (and Twitter only volunteered), it’s not an invasion of privacy, right? This was all good, and almost everyone was having fun until:


A screenshot of Navarra’s inbox was even posted:


Did Twitter really read through Navarra’s direct messages? If they did, then that’s creepy and a cause for concern to anyone who had ever messaged Matt Navarra. For his part, Navarra claimed that he deleted all DMs before he allowed Twitter to take over.


We can’t verify this though since there’s no screenshot of an empty inbox, to begin with. The inbox screenshot we have is the one when Twitter already took over. It showed that it wasn’t empty at all—there’s even a message from “Satan.”

Reaction from Twitter users

Apparently, this didn’t sit well with followers who had exchanged messages with Navarra, and with other Twitter users who are concerned about privacy.

Twitter did not comment on this, but it did confirm that it logged in to Navarra’s Twitter account and tweeted as him to have some fun. Although the brief takeover was entertaining and funny, Twitter joking that it read all DMs was of bad taste, especially when other tech companies are being roasted for user privacy breaches. Facebook’s security issues and Google’s user data exposure are causing an uproar among privacy advocate groups, with stricter regulations being proposed.

Published on: 2 April 2019
Posted by: Rich Drees
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