Elon Musk’s ‘Everything App’ Dream Needs Even More of Your Data

(Photo by Rubaitul Azad on Unsplash)

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Everything apps are kind of like an everything bagel — messy and too many ingredients.

Elon Musk’s plan to turn X into an everything app (hold the cream cheese) is coming into view. According to Musk (i.e., don’t assume it will definitely happen), the platform formerly known as Twitter will be adding an audio and video call feature for users. Apart from this being a terrifying idea to anyone who’s ever had a persistent “reply guy,” it also seems the feature — and all the other new features to complete an everything app — will mean X needs to hoover up even more user data.

More Data More Problems

Bloomberg reported that right before Musk’s announcement about the audio and video calls, Twitter changed its privacy policy. The company now says: “Based on your consent, we may collect and use your biometric information for safety, security, and identification purposes.” It also now states that X wants to know more about your resume, saying it may “collect employment history, educational history, employment preferences, skills and abilities, job search activity and engagement, and so on.” Watch out, LinkedIn.

This looks like the company is laying the groundwork for the myriad new features Musk wants to layer on top of its core social-media product. But processing a ton of new types of data might prove tricky with X’s remaining skeleton crew:

  • Processing more data, especially deeply sensitive pieces like biometrics, requires careful handling and, most importantly, safeguarding. X’s technical hardiness already seems to have a few cracks in it since Musk cleaned out 75% of the staff at the company, most recently evidenced by a bug that rendered all links and images posted before 2014 unviewable.
  • X is already dancing on eggshells when it comes to protecting user data. In 2011, the company signed a settlement to let the FTC assess its security practice for 10 years, and not mislead users about its privacy practices for 20 years. X petitioned a court in July to have the agreement modified, saying the FTC was overstepping its boundaries, partly because the agency asked to depose Musk himself.

Pulling on Threads: It isn’t all bad news for X, as Meta’s clone app Threads seems to be rapidly losing its sheen. Ad Age reported recently that Thread had lost 80% of the millions of daily active users it racked up when it first came out. It may not just be a Threads problem, though, as a recent Insider report found that users are posting less across various social media platforms, preferring to just message their friends or reside in closed groups. Being social is so 2008.