If you own a brand name as a TwitterID, take heed. Twitter will reveal your ownership details to the brand owner. Nerdgirl Stephanie Robesky, a former employee of a venture fund established by the founders of Skype, was shocked recently into realizing she still owned the @Skype TwitterID even though she had moved on in her career and never used the account. In an email exchange with Techcrunch she responded:
“I registered the Skype Twitter name because I worked at Skype at the time so thought it might have been of use to us at some point. I’m sure I told someone in marketing who ignored me and had no clue at the time what Twitter was. Left Skype last year and forgot that I even had registered the name until yesterday… Glad they don’t have my credit card details.”
In her own Nerdgirl blog she wrote a letter to Twitter:
I would like to say, however, that I am hugely disappointed that my name, email address (even if it didn’t work) and details were given out to anyone in reference to any account held on Twitter. And, yes, someone at Twitter did give this information out and this is how I was contacted about the account, so please do not try to deny it. This is a violation of my privacy and, quite honestly, probably a big violation of your privacy policies. It is unprofessional of your team to hand out users information regardless of circumstances and this is something that we never would have done at Skype – even if Obama himself couldn’t log into an account that he says wasn’t even his!
I hope that you and your team take privacy more seriously in the future.
Read the Mike Butcher’s amusing post on Techcrunch, Gone in 140 characters – Privacy issues raised as Twitter employee hands over personal details of @Skype registrant to Skype, for more details.
I always appreciated that Twitter would close down accounts that had an element of illegitimacy to them. However, let’s hope Twitter can come up with a more discrete protocol for handling issues involving use of brand names as TwitterID’s.
In closing I need to draw your attention to the Chief Twitter Officer for Skype: Skype’s blogger Peter Parkes, who goes by the ‘nom de Tweet‘ PeteratSkype. Peter is often found addressing individual customer issues in the Twittersphere. You do need to be following him in order that he can DM you a reply to any Twitter queries.