• Andrew Thurston

    Editor, The Brink Twitter Profile

    Photo of Andrew Thurston, a white man with black glasses. He smiles and wears a maroon polo shirt.

    Andrew Thurston is originally from England, but has grown to appreciate the serial comma and the Red Sox, while keeping his accent (mostly) and love of West Ham United. He joined BU in 2007, and is the editor of the University’s research news site, The Brink; he was formerly director of alumni publications. Before joining BU, he edited consumer and business magazines, including for corporations, nonprofits, and the UK government. His work has won awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the In-House Agency Forum, Folio:, and the British Association of Communicators in Business. Andrew has a bachelor’s degree in English and related literature from the University of York. Profile

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There are 7 comments on Is Meta’s Threads Safe? Social Media Data Privacy Explained

  1. Just because Twitter isn’t a Leftist free-for-all anymore doesn’t mean it’s being run poorly. Save the editorializing for the Op-Ed page.

    1. Has nothing to do with Left vs Right. Many of Elon’s changes have ended in losing subscribers, traffic, and money. That is running a business poorly.

    2. I stopped using twitter because the app doesn’t work well any more. It’s slow, basic searches and trends don’t even load anymore. The fact that I can now get breaking news faster through a google search than twitter says A LOT.

  2. I think that Prof. Johnson significantly underestimates the danger of so brazenly and openly collecting very private information about users. Fine location information can be used to infer very sensitive personal information, like sexual orientation and proclivity, health status (e.g., are you pregnant? seeking an abortion? joined a political protest?), and purchasing habits, all of which can also be linked to online activity (search history, porn viewing habits, love interests).

    The fact that many apps and social media companies already collect a lot of information about you does not mean that you should throw in the towel on privacy and give them more.

    However, for those who feel otherwise, please feel free to email me your bank account numbers (with an authorization for withdrawing funds from your accounts).

    1. Totally agree and it’s actually quite disturbing how much personal info apps suck off your devices. People need to start reading those Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policies – once you do, it’s amazing how many apps you decide aren’t worth it. Prof. Johnson is really understating the threat and how GDPR is, at least in some basic ways, protecting EU citizens from becoming “the product” for social media companies.

      Meta recognized how little push back Tik Tok actually gets for pulling all sorts of personal data – and in Tik Tok’s case making it accessible to the CCP – and is capitalizing on a naiveté that social media companies are somehow altruistic. News flash, they are not.

      If you began to engage with a Meta-owned platform in 2010, the company now has 13+ years of your personal information….does your actual family even know as much about you as Meta does?

  3. I’m more than a little bemused at how dismissive the establishment (including BU) is toward Mastodon. I’ve been using it as my only social media since the fall, and am having a very rewarding experience. My feed (no ads, and no algorithm – it’s all based on which users and hashtags I follow) is filled with thoughtful discussions, and very little negativity.

    If you want to try Mastodon, visit https://joinmastodon.org. The confusing thing is you have to sign up on a “server” or “instance”. You can, though, follow and be followed by people on other servers. Moderation in Mastodon is decentralized, so picking a server with a moderation policy you like is a good idea. Because servers are not centralized, they are typically supported by user donations. I make a monthly donation to mine. There is a nice web interface to Mastodon, as well as choices of apps for smartphones. To discover people to follow, you can search for or follow hashtags. If Threads does as they say, it will join the Fediverse, which includes Mastodon. So it would be possible to follow people on Threads, and vice versa, from Mastodon, while keeping your experience ad and algorithm free.

    A good informational user to follow on Mastodon is @feditips@mstdn.social. I’m on Mastodon as @fullyabstract@fosstodon.org (https://fosstodon.org/@fullyabstract).

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