Do you really know who is reading your DMs?

I use direct messages (DMs) on Twitter for a variety of purposes and probably as much as I do regular, public tweets. Over the past month I’ve DMed about 25% of the people that I follow.

I know it’s not called Private Messaging, but I think most Twitter users have an expectation of privacy when they DM. There’s a lot of information flowing on that back channel and not all of it is for public consumption.

I am flirty, I am dirty, I am cheeky, I am helpful, I am supportive.

Others have told me about the kind of information they see flowing via DMs. Personal mobile phone numbers, email addresses, even passwords and credit card numbers.

And it’s not just the obviously confidential information. In 140 characters, the scope to lose  the context of the message is very high.

But even if you are careful with your own and other peoples’ privacy, it doesn’t mean that others are.  I’m careful about which apps I let have access to my twitter accounts especially the ones that can read and create DMs on my behalf.

But here’s the rub.

If someone you communicate with gives an application access to their DMs, that application will be able to see the DMs between you even though you have not given that app access to your DMs.

So it’s back to email and texts for me. Oh yeah. That’s right…