Twitterverse went all aflutter after a Twitter account associated with WikiLeaks tweeted on Friday (6 January) about the whistleblowing platform seeking to create an "online database" of all verified Twitter users, leading most to speculate about the possibility of WikiLeaks possibly dumping personal, financial and occupational data of verified Twitter account holders.
The now deleted tweet, posted by WikiLeaks Task Force, whose tweets have been repeatedly retweeted by WikiLeaks' official account, reportedly read, "We are thinking of making an online database with all "verified" twitter accounts & their family/job/financial/housing relationships," Engadget reported.
WikiLeaks Task Force later posted another tweet that read, "We are looking for clear discrete (father/shareholding/party membership) variables that can be put into our AI software. Other suggestions?"
Journalist Kevin Collier requested WikiLeaks Task Force to clarify whether their tweet was an indication of a potential threat to begin doxing people. WikiLeaks Task Force responded by writing, "No it is to develop a metric to understand influence networks based on proximity graphs."
However, Twitter users were up in arms over the now deleted tweet, with some speculating if this was WikiLeaks' turn at adopting intimidation tactics.
WikiLeaks' official Twitter account has since also posted a tweet, which seemingly appears to distance itself from the WikiLeaks Task Force account. WikiLeaks wrote that it has only one official account and that "No other accounts are authorized to make statements on @wikileaks behalf."
Amid major outcry from Twitter users about its previous tweet, WikiLeaks Task Force posted yet another tweet, citing Wikipedia, Google, Facebook and LinkedIn as examples of tech giants who have also created similar relationship graphs.
Meanwhile, Twitter's official account on safety, appears to have picked up the brouhaha over the matter and subtly subtweeted WikiLeaks Task Force's now deleted tweet with its own responding tweet. Twitter's Safety account wrote, "Posting another person's private and confidential information is a violation of the Twitter Rules."