Twitter launches Tip Jar to send money to people but it is a privacy nightmare

Twitter has rolled out Tip Jar, a new feature aimed at supporting Twitter users by sending them money. The service supports Bandcamp, Cash App, Patreon, PayPal, and Venmo to make payments, with Twitter not taking any cut. Tip Jar is currently limited to select creators, journalists, experts, and nonprofits around the world, however, users have realized that the service is a privacy nightmare. Not only does it share user email addresses with the recipient when they attempt to send money via PayPal, but it also shares the sender’s home address.

Twitter Tip Jar

Tip Jar shares name and address with recipients when using PayPal

Tip Jar is a well-intended feature and is an effort from Twitter to allow users to send money to one another to show support. So far, the feature is limited to a few types of accounts, but people have already started finding issues with the new feature.

The issue reported is not exactly an issue on Twitter’s side but more on PayPal’s side. Due to how PayPal works, it shares a lot of sender data with the receiver. This includes the sender’s name and address. Various Twitter users like Rachel Tobac were quick to share these concerns even when rumors had started going around that Twitter will be launching Tip Jar with PayPal integration.

Even if users just tap the Tip Jar button, their Twitter email address is shared with PayPal, even before they send any money. This has been demonstrated as per the video below by Ashkan Soltani on Twitter. There seems to be no message or warning from Twitter that the user information will be shared with PayPal, before it actually happens.

Twitter Support is aware of these issues and has tweeted that its tipping prompt in the app and information in the Help Center will be updated to show what sort of information will be shared with other apps and services when using Tip Jar.

This sort of issue should have been caught and resolved before roll-out as payment method implementation should be internally scrutinized by security and data compliance departments. However, it is good to see that Twitter is listening and will be making changes to let users know what information is going to be shared when using Tip Jar.

Tip Jar is available now on iOS and Android for Twitter in English. Twitter will be rolling out the feature to more languages and users soon.

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