Being Twitter Safe
A common and useful tactic with Twitter technology is streamlining the process of getting tweets out into the social sphere. Hooking your twitter stream to RSS feeds, pulling it into a blog via API, auto publishing it to a myriad of your other social media accounts in other platforms – all of these help us get the most bang for the tweeting buck by amplifying the broadcast range of our conversation without costing more effort and time.
While there is every incentive to take advantage of these broadcast tools, be mindful that the advantage taken may go both ways. There are some serious dangers associated with opening your twitter account to third parties, as discussed in a recent Search Engine Watch article by Gary-adam Shannon, “Twitter Exploit Warning: How Anyone Can Easily Snatch Your Direct Messages.”
The article takes a pretty deep technical dive, but the point is clear: Currently there is no limitation to the level of access being granted (often unknowingly) to a third party app when you hand over your user name and password. In particular, you should be aware that when you hit that big “Allow” button, you are granting access all the way down to your Direct Messages – the Twitter equivalent of your personal email box.
How To Protect Yourself?
The safest bet, as recommended by Kristine Schachinger in her article, “Twitter: Take Better Care of Our Private Information!” is to simply delete your Direct Messages regularly so no one can reach them. It isn’t a perfect solution, but until Twitter improves our ability to protect our private content it’s about the only way one can straddle the line between taking advantage of technology and being taken advantage of at the same time. Tread carefully.