Twitter Introduced a New “Tip Jar” Feature That Accidentally Doxxes Users
And also just generally does not seem well thought-out!
Twitter introduced a number of new features this week, including doing away with its photo crop (good!) and showing a prompt to encourage users to be less mean (LOL). The site also introduced a “tip jar” allowing people to give other users money as a sign of thanks or approval for their tweets.
show your love, leave a tip
now testing Tip Jar, a new way to give and receive money on Twitter 💸
more coming soon… pic.twitter.com/7vyCzlRIFc
— Twitter (@Twitter) May 6, 2021
twitter has added a tip jar feature……… at last, i can monetize being a dumb bitch :)
— caitie delaney (@caitiedelaney) May 6, 2021
In theory, this is a fine idea. If you really like someone’s Twitter presence and want to give them a dollar or whatever, fine, good, great!
In reality, it seems inevitable that the absolute worst people on the site are the ones who are going to make the most money.
some truly awful people are about to make a lot of money via tweets
— Marisa Kabas (@MarisaKabas) May 6, 2021
This feature is also (at least for now) only available for a limited selection of verified users. So if you want to send some financial love to your favorite cosplayer, artist, comedian, or what have you, the vast majority of them will be ineligible, at least for now.
But the worst thing about the tip jar rollout is that because it’s run through a number of third party payment sites (PayPal, Cash App, Venmo, Bandcamp, Patreon), it’s subject to those company’s terms—which, at least in the case of PayPal, means tippers are unknowingly doxxing themselves as their address shows up on receipts issued to the tippees.
Huge heads up on PayPal Twitter Tip Jar. If you send a person a tip using PayPal, when the receiver opens up the receipt from the tip you sent, they get your *address*. Just tested to confirm by tipping @yashar on Twitter w/ PayPal and he did in fact get my address I tipped him. https://t.co/R4NvaXRdlZ pic.twitter.com/r8UyJpNCxu
— Rachel Tobac (@RachelTobac) May 6, 2021
This is a feature of PayPal, not Twitter, but Twitter has taken no steps to protect or even warn its users that using the tip jar will expose their personal information.
(According to Tobac’s follow-up tweets, it sounds like the company is now looking into the issue, but if you’re going to subject hundreds of millions of users to a potential doxxing, those bugs should have been worked out ahead of time!)
It should be noted that that tweet above makes it appear that PayPal takes a 1/3 cut but to its credit, Twitter says it takes no percentage of payments and Tobac’s fee seems to be PayPal’s standard fixed fee of 30¢ + 2.9% for personal transactions made with credit cards. I could be wrong but couldn’t verify because none of my verified close acquaintances have access to the tip jar.
To that end, the reasoning behind who, exactly, made the handpicked list of “creators, journalists, experts, and nonprofits” selected to test the feature is a bit of a mystery but it’s definitely based more in clout and reach than need. A blue check absolutely does not equal wealth or, really, any form of personal or professional success. But at least some of the blue-checked users who do have access to the tool are far from anyone you should feel the need to donate to and it’s pretty weird that Twitter gave them the option to take our money at all without making sure that tool went both ways.
Basically, every aspect of this new feature is a total mess. And since users can just link to their Patreons and Ko-fis in their Twitter bios, it seems wholly unnecessary anyway.
Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!
—The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]