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WikiLeaks Proposes Creating A Database Of Verified Twitter Users

I write about technology with a focus on social and digital media.  

FILE - In this July 27, 2016, file photo, the Twitter symbol appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Twitter, long criticized as a hotbed for online harassment, is expanding ways to curb the amount of abuse users see and making it easier to report such conduct. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

WikiLeaks, the disclosure organization led by Julian Assange, said in a series of tweets on Friday that it is considering building a digital database of verified Twitter TWTR +0.47% users based on personal information about their families, jobs, financial standing and housing.

WikiLeaks said it does not plan to dox users’ home addresses and only intends to share the relationships between verified users based on “proximity graphs.” However, critics of the group’s idea expressed outrage and concern that such a tool would violate the safety and privacy of users and their families.

“We are thinking of making an online database with all ‘verified’ twitter accounts & their family/job/financial/housing relationships,” the WikiLeaks Task Force said in a tweet, which it deleted hours later. “The idea is to look at the network of *relationships* that influence — not to publish addresses,” the organization said in a separate tweet. The WikiLeaks account cited Wikipedia, Google, LinkedIn and Facebook as examples of creators of similar relationship graphs.

 WikiLeaks said the purpose of such a database would be to inform its artificial intelligence software. The group also asked Twitter users for “other suggestions”  as to how it might use the information.

“Posting another person’s private and confidential information is a violation of the Twitter Rules,” a Twitter spokesperson said in an email. WikiLeaks did not respond to a request for comment.

 

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