American fugitive and whistleblower Edward Snowden gave an exclusive interview with Jack Dorsey, CEO, and co-founder of Twitter.
The interview was announced via Twitter. The tweet was posted by Snowden on Dec. 12 and retweeted by Dorsey. It took place at 12:05 p.m. EST and streamed live on the Pardon Snowden Periscope account, Twitter's live streaming app.
During the talk, Snowden discussed the legalities of government surveillance, the problem with fake news, and the possible changes Twitter needed to make to remain relevant, among other things.
He mentioned that the user data collected by online companies are creating a "quantified world" which provides the government an endless supply of intel. The recent issue regarding cheap android phones sending user data to a Chinese company comes to mind. This only proves that surveillance is possible and anyone can fall victim to it without their knowledge.
In discussing the proliferation of fake news in social media, Snowden said, "The problem with fake news isn't solved by hoping for a referee." He stressed that the solution is not censorship but rather for more people to speak out and be more vigilant in pointing out the fake ones.
Dorsey also took the opportunity to get some feedback regarding his product.
"What would you like to see us do," Dorsey asked the former NSA contractor. "What would you like to see us improve, to serve you and to serve the world better?"
Snowden called one feature of the social networking service as "painful" and "terrible". He was talking about Twitter's 140-character limit, particularly, the 22 characters that are lost when a picture is added to a tweet.
"Twitter has tried to expand what you can fit into tweets, which I think is an important effort, particularly when you talk about content. The fact that when you add a picture to a tweet, you lose 22 characters? That's painful. Honestly, that's terrible."
Snowden also mentioned the need to editing tweets. While he understands the possible implications of tweet editing, he did say that "there are ways around this".
"There's a lot of controversy about editing tweets. The risks I do understand."
Privacy issues, cyber security, and data breach have been major issues even before Snowden came forward with what he knew. Snowden may be a hero or a villain but one thing is for sure, he opened the eyes of many of what really goes on behind every tweet, call, text or message.