AI news: X's New Privacy Policy: Biometric Data Collection and Potential Job Recommendations

X, formerly known as Twitter, is making significant updates to its privacy policy, including the collection of biometric data, such as users' facial photographs. This move aligns with X's ongoing efforts to offer more tailored and individualized experiences for its users and potentially compete with platforms like LinkedIn.

X's privacy policy update, effective from September 29, allows users who subscribe to X Premium, the platform's subscription service, to provide a selfie and photo ID for verification purposes. Additionally, the policy mentions the potential collection of employment and educational history.

One of the primary purposes of collecting this data is to "recommend potential jobs for you, to share with potential employers when you apply for a job, to enable employers to find potential candidates, and to show you more relevant advertising," as stated in the updated policy.

This strategic move follows X Corp's acquisition of a tech recruiting service called Laskie in May, signaling its interest in entering the recruitment space. The acquisition marked the first takeover of a company by X since Elon Musk purchased Twitter last year for a staggering $44 billion.

Liberty Vittert, a professor of the practice of data science at Washington University in St. Louis, believes that X's update aims to create a more targeted and personalized user experience, possibly challenging platforms like LinkedIn. However, she cautions that users should be cautious, as employers could potentially misuse this data, including analyzing tweets, retweets, or accounts followed to make hiring decisions.

Dr. Stephanie Hare, a tech ethics researcher, views the data collection as a substantial endeavor but notes that it is voluntary for users, making it less contentious from a civil liberties standpoint.

X emphasizes that the collection of biometric data, which includes information related to physical attributes like facial scans, is specifically for X Premium users. The biometric data may be extracted from both government IDs and selfie images for matching purposes, contributing to account security and combating impersonation attempts.

Elon Musk, X's CEO, also reiterated the platform's plans to introduce video and audio calls. He stated that this feature would be available on iOS, Android, Mac, and PC and would not require a phone number, emphasizing X's ambition to become an "effective global address book." However, no specific release date for this feature was provided.

It's worth noting that TikTok, a major social media platform, already collects biometric data in the United States, stating in its privacy policy that it may collect biometric identifiers and information, such as faceprints and voiceprints. Nevertheless, during a Senate hearing last year, TikTok's then COO, Vanessa Pappas, clarified that the platform did not use facial, voice, audio, or body recognition to identify individuals.

As Elon Musk continues to steer X towards his vision of an "everything app," users can anticipate more feature additions and policy updates in the future, aiming to transform X into a comprehensive platform for various online services.