Buried in the company’s policy updates, it says, “Based on your consent, we may collect and use your biometric information for safety, security, and identification purposes.”
A company representative confirmed the change to Bloomberg, which noted that “the biometrics will be for premium users and will give them the option to provide their government ID and a picture, to add a verification layer.” Biometric data may be extracted from both for matching purposes.
“This will additionally help us tie, for those that choose, an account to a real person by processing their government issued ID,” X said in a statement quoted by Bloomberg. “This will also help X fight impersonation attempts and make the platform more secure.”
The company was named as defendant in a class action lawsuit in July, over allegations it “has not adequately informed individuals who have interacted (knowingly or not) with Twitter, that it collects and/or stores their biometric identifiers in every photograph containing a face that is uploaded” to the platform.
One goal for using biometric data could be plans to allow use of passkeys — which are able to use a device’s fingerprint, facial recognition, or PIN to log into a user’s account, The Verge reported.
Not long after the policy update, CEO Elon Musk announced that the platform would be adding video and audio calls, allowing anyone to contact any other users on the platform, essentially making the app “the effective global address book.”
Video & audio calls coming to X:
– Works on iOS, Android, Mac & PC
– No phone number needed
– X is the effective global address book
That set of factors is unique.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 31, 2023
In addition to biometric data, X will also gather information about users’ employment and education histories.