Twitter Offers: What Could Go Wrong?

Last week, Twitter announced the soft launch of Twitter Offers, a new ecommerce feature that lets advertisers offer digital coupons within their tweets. These coupons can be redeemed both online and in actual, real life, brick and mortar, blood and guts retail locations. All users of Twitter Offers must sync their credit or debit cards to their Twitter accounts—what could possibly go wrong there?

Once Again, All You Are is $$$

Twitter has been working to up its ecommerce game for some time now, and retailers have similarly been working to more effectively link their social media marketing with retail sales. A direct “Buy” button has been appearing in select tweets from a range of retailers since September, and Amazon’s Twitter account has offered the ability to instantly add items to users’ wish lists on their site for over six months.

Twitter Offers is unlike either of those features, however. It provides those doing the selling to see more directly where their sales are coming from. As with roughly 99% of online destinations, Twitter has found a way to turn users into naught but dollar signs.

Pictured: Twitter users.

Pictured: Twitter users.

The social media network’s product manager, Tarun Jain, stated on the official company blog, “With Twitter Offers, advertisers will be able to attribute redemptions directly to their campaigns on Twitter, so that they can effectively measure the ROI […] By leveraging Twitter’s robust targeting capabilities, advertisers can tailor their promotions and campaigns to the right audience, while optimizing for performance.”

Yet Another Way to Lose Everything At Once

Again, in order for Twitter users to utilize Twitter Offers, they must sync their credit/debit cards to their Twitter accounts. The coupons can then be redeemed online or off using the synced card. As Jain explained, “We make it easy for merchants […] because they can use their existing payment network, there’s no change to the consumer purchase process, no employee training, and no new hardware or software to install.”

Anyone who’s ever redeemed a mobile coupon at any brick and mortar store ever can tell you that the process is generally not worth the discount. Employees never know what they’re doing when it comes time to incorporate said coupons, and half the time the bar or QR codes included with the coupons don’t scan correctly, rendering the company’s process of created those codes 100 percent useless.

That makes this new setup sound like a marvel of convenience. Until one considers how easy it clearly is to hack Twitter accounts. Literally everyone I know who uses Twitter, including myself, has had their account hacked at least once. In those cases, nothing major came of it—all I did was reset my password and everything went back to squarsies.

But, imagine what could definitely will happen with users’ bank account info attached to their Twitter accounts. With just a few taps on their smartphone screens, users will inadvertently set themselves up for disaster; hackers will happily hop on the vulnerabilities in the Twitter system and steal thousands of users’ card numbers.

TL;DR

Twitter just wants to use you to make more money, and their system for doing so is ripe for the picking by hackers.

Photo credit: gyazickr / Foter / CC BY-NC

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