“Based on your consent, we may collect and use your biometric information for safety, security, and identification purposes,” the company said in its new policy. X doesn’t define what it considers biometric, though other companies have used the term to describe data gleaned from a person’s face, eyes and fingerprints.
A representative of San Francisco-based X confirmed the new policy change.
Social media companies have long drawn criticism from users and regulators around the world for the information they gather and how they use that data, including the sale of advertising tailored to a person’s interests and search histories. Elon Musk, who bought Twitter last year, has said one of his priorities is to rid the site of inauthentic accounts, and push more users toward using a service that applies a blue check mark, indicating the user has paid $8 a month and is more likely to be human.
X said the biometrics are for premium users and will give them the option to provide their government ID and a picture, to add a verification layer. Biometric data may be extracted from both for matching purposes. “This will additionally help us tie, for those that choose, an account to a real person by processing their government issued ID,” X said in a statement. “This will also help X fight impersonation attempts and make the platform more secure.”
After the policy update, Musk announced X users will be able to make video and audio calls through the platform without having to share their phone number, in the latest expansion of services as he seeks to create an “everything app.”
The previous policy, in place until Sept. 29, didn’t include references to biometric data or job and employment history.
A proposed class action suit earlier this year alleged that X wrongfully captured, stored and used Illinois residents’ biometric data without consent. X “has not adequately informed individuals who have interacted (knowingly or not) with Twitter, that it collects and/or stores their biometric identifiers in every photograph containing a face that is uploaded to Twitter,” according to the suit, which was filed July 11.
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