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Five Things You Didn't Know About Twitter

Wednesday, 3 Oct 2012 | 2:31 PM ET
Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter.
Francois G. Druand | Getty Images
Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo revealed some interesting information about growing his social media company in a recent interview with CNBC, all thanks to some questions posed by CNBC's Twitter followers.

Here are five questions asked by CNBC's Twitter followers that led Costolo to shine some light on what's next for the social media giant.

1) Does Twitter sell the data it collects?

"No, we're not" said Costolo.

So, what does Twitter do with data collected?

Costolo said the company uses "data in a lot of different ways to understand — for example, to debug problems. When you've got that many hundreds of millions of tweets coming in per day, sometimes we get a very specific kind of detailed bug and you'll have to dig back through the data you've collected over the past couple months to try to debug it."

2) Why do millions of people flock to Twitter each day?

"Forty percent of our users now don't actively Tweet," Costolo said. What are they doing then? "They log in and just consume information. I think that number will continue to grow as we become evermore mainstream."

Twitter CEO Answers Tweeters' Questions
In this CNBC.com-only video clip, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo answers some of the questions submitted to CNBC by Tweeters and asked by Julia Boorstin.

3) User status on its way?

Remember AIM Away Messages? These short and customizable notes were posted on Buddy Lists in the 1990s to alert a person's friends if he or she was online, away or simply hard at work. The question for Twitter is: should users look forward to a status feature indicating when a subscriber is online, available, busy, etc?

"I don't think we'll do that any time soon," answers Costolo. Cue AOL door slam audio.

4) What happens to unused Twitter handles?

New users may find it frustrating when they realize someone already registered a Twitter handle with their name. Even more frustrating, accounts made up of precious handles may be going unused and collecting dust.

When asked if users will have access to these inactive names, Costolo said it will be possible soon, but in an "automated fashion."

5) What is Twitter doing to combat spam?

"Spam is an arms race. It always is between the technologies trying to prevent it and the spammers trying to work their way around it," Costolo said. "Spammers work where they think there are hundreds of millions people paying attention because that's where they know that they can try to have their message seen. We have an incredible technology team working to eradicate it from the platform. And the data actually show that they're doing a fantastic job."


— Written by CNBC's Eli Langer. Follow him on Twitter at @EliLanger.

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  • Matt Hunter is the senior technology editor at CNBC.com.

  • Cadie Thompson is a tech reporter for the Enterprise Team for CNBC.com.

  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.

  • Jon Fortt is an on-air editor. He covers the companies, start-ups, and trends that are driving innovation in the industry.

  • Lipton is CNBC's technology correspondent, working from CNBC's Silicon Valley bureau.

  • Mark is CNBC's Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bureau Chief covering technology and digital media.