(LifeSiteNews) — The social media platform X, formerly Twitter, will begin collecting biometric and employment information from some of its users according to a Thursday policy update, prompting concerns that general online privacy will be further eroded.
A company representative explained to Bloomberg that X Premium users can opt to provide their government ID and a picture, and that biometric data will be collected from both in order to verify user identity.
“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.”
The official policy update comes amid a user lawsuit accusing X of capturing, storing, and using Illinois residents’ biometric data, including facial signatures, without their consent.
Biometric data, including fingerprints and face scans, are increasingly being used to verify personal identity on online platforms, such as Meta’s Facebook, or during purchases. Whole Foods, for example, has begun to install biometric technology that allows shoppers to pay “with their hand” by linking unique “palm signatures” to specific credit cards, so that a flash of the palm triggers a purchase.
X will also be collecting educational and employment histories of its users to assist them in job searches, which could make the company a potential competitor to Microsoft-owned LinkedIn. Last week, the platform released its “X Hiring” recruitment tool, now available to “verified” organizations.
“We may collect and use your personal information (such as your employment history, educational history, employment preferences, skills and abilities, job search activity and engagement, and so on) 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,” explains the updated policy, which comes into effect on September 29.
Jacopo Pantaleoni, former principal engineer and research scientist at Nvidia, told Fortune he believes X’s new privacy standards “set a dangerous precedent.”
“The danger is twofold. First, if the use of these markers gets broader adoption, it might establish a system where it becomes virtually impossible to remain anonymous on the net, further eroding the very notion of online privacy,” he said.
Pantaleoni also predicted that the use of such identity markers “will invariably lead to the development of even more fine-tuned and precise methods of targeted advertisement and tailored news distribution.”
“And what this means is that it will become even more difficult for users to acquire a neutral perspective of the web, and eventually, the world. The consequences could be catastrophic,” he warned.
X owner and chairman Elon Musk has shared that he aspires to turn the platform into an “everything app” that will facilitate communications, including video and audio calls, payments, shopping, and other services.