A lawsuit filed in against Twitter in a Federal Court in San Francisco accused Twitter of violating the Wiretap Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California privacy law.

According to the plaintiffs, when Twitter users send links to each other, the company transforms the URLs into short links for the purpose of having traffic directed through its own system in order to obtain improved advertising rates. The plaintiffs claim that despite Twitter's assurances that users are allowed to talk privately, the company is eavesdropping on direct messages being sent by users through the social network, without having obtained the consent of its users, and without their knowledge.

In a motion to dismiss, Twitter argued that the Wiretap Act should be applied narrowly and neither the Act nor the Electronic Communications Privacy Act applies to its "processing" of direct messages. Twitter added that shortening URLs allows users to share more without encountering character limits. In addition, Twitter addresses its terms of service and privacy policy disclosures which prove, according to the motion, that users are informed that Twitter “may modify or adapt content… (and) may keep track of how you interact with links across our services...by redirecting clicks or through other means”.