X to collect biometric data, job history under new policy

In recent years, collecting biometric identity-recognition markers has become part of the data-gathering process from tech companies. X has now joined them.
Ameya Paleja
screenshot of phone with apps
New X policy = biometric data


Elon Musk-owned X will now collect biometric data and work history of its users as part of its new policy starting later this month, Bloomberg reported. In doing so, X, formerly known as Twitter, joins other social media companies farming user details over the years.

When Elon Musk stated that he would unlock Twitter's potential when he first suggested a buyout in April last year, little did users imagine that he would radically change the social media platform.

Users thought the platform would retain its sense of identity but with the recent rebranding to X, the Musk-led era has started to take shape – along with the disappearance of the bird – the platform's stance seems also to have vanished.

A paid verification mess

After the takeover, Musk called the legacy verification check system on Twitter elitist. He very quickly replaced it with a paid one, where everybody paying $8 a month could claim to be any company or personality they wanted.

Musk had to roll back the plan and make many more changes but half a year later, verification checks still remain a mess on the platform. The platform had to remove the ability to see whether verification checks were paid or not for the storm to settle down.

Now, to clear the mess of its own making, X is looking to use government-issued IDs to identify real people from imposters on the platform. But to do this, it needs to process biometric data of the users, something the pre-Musk Twitter had refrained from doing.

X to collect biometric data, job history under new policy
Phone reading biometric data

Collecting biometrics and more

Social media companies have long drawn the ire of users and regulators alike for collecting large amounts of data, which can then be used for targeting advertisements. In recent years, biometric data that broadly consists of identity-recognition markers from the face, fingerprints, or the eye's iris has also become part of the data-gathering process from tech companies.

Last year, Meta-owned Instagram started using government-issued IDs for paid verification for users in the UK, and the professional networking platform LinkedIn also uses it, although the verification does not require payment.

Later this month, X will join these social media platforms in collecting this data, as per a recent policy change. For now, these changes will only impact users subscribing to X premium services. In addition to this, the platform will also collect information on the user's work and education history to recommend potential jobs to users and help employers find candidates.

Although Musk's vision for an everything app does not explicitly state that X also wants to be a job site, it is getting increasingly difficult to gather what X really wants to be.

Earlier this week, Musk announced that the platform would support audio and video calls without actually requiring users to register themselves with a phone number, making the X username a global address book.

It does seem like Musk wants X to offer everything other platforms are offering, but that also means the platform will have no individuality at all. It also seems that the longer this experiment continues, X will become nothing more than an everything app, which users may or may not want to use.

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