Feb. 15, 2012 at 12:30 PM ET
Have you recently used the hand-dandy Find Friends feature found in the official Android and iPhone Twitter apps? If so, you have authorized Twitter to upload the contents of your entire contacts list to its servers — and to keep them there for 18 months.
Sarno emphasizes that Twitter does point out that it stores "some categories of 'Log Data'" on its servers for 18 months, but that there is no clarification regarding the fact that users' contact lists are also stored for the same amount of time if they choose to use the Find Friends feature.
The Find Friends feature only offers a prompt explaining to users that it will "scan [their] contacts for people [they] already know on Twitter." At no point during the "scan" are users notified that their contacts are being uploaded to Twitter's servers.
Twitter spokesperson Carolyn Penner tells us that the reason contacts are uploaded in such a manner is a matter of convenience:
We store contacts for up to 18 months. This makes it easy for you and your contacts to discover each other on Twitter after you've signed up (provided that you've chosen to let others find you via email address or phone number).
Penner also explains that people may choose to remove their contacts from Twitter's servers at any time by scrolling to the bottom of the "Who To Follow" page on the Twitter website and clicking the "remove" link found there.
While speaking to Sarno though, Penner added that Twitter intends to update the update "the language associated with Find My Friends" and replace the "scan your contacts" phrase with "upload your contacts" or "import your contacts."
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