Social Media

Twitter-a-Flitter: Social media giant granted patent for ‘dronies’

1.17Kviews

Social media giant Twitter is granted a patent for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that will most likely be used to take selfies with drones or “dronies” as well as cover events of interest.

US Patent #20150362917 for a “MESSAGING-ENABLED UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE” was granted to Twitter for a wide range of photo and video-capturing applications.

According to the patent background description:

Social media account holders may capture and transmit certain facets of an event (e.g., a sporting event, a concert performance, an awards show, a festival, a competition) to followers of the event. These followers may be other account holders of social media networks who receive social media posts about an event to experience the event from the perspective of the social media account holders at the event.

From the description, it appears that Twitter wants users to utilize these drones to cover events from a “social media perspective” that would otherwise not be captured by regular media outlets.

However, it raises concerns over whether non-media affiliates (i.e. Twitter users) would be able to accurately and effectively capture the events in full detail as opposed to  traditional media organizations.

Adding further to sharing concerns, “If a follower is not connected to many followed account holders who are attending the event, then the follower may not receive adequate coverage of the event,” according to the patent description.

It appears that the way to skirt around a lack of professional coverage and the limitations of Twitter followers of each account would be to market the UAVs to as many people as possible to boost camera angles and the number of people sharing any given event.

As the patent has just been approved, there is no set price yet, but for the scale of which Twitter wants to distribute these drones to cover events, it is pointing to something within reasonable affordability.

While Twitter shares have dropped 38% this year, a new drone patent may just be what is needed to lift Twitter back off the ground.

As it stands, the current market for drones is at around $499 to $1,200.

Any Reasons For Concern?

One line that stands out particularly is that the Twitter Drone patent states, “Account holders of the messaging platform may control the UAV with commands embedded in messages and directed towards an account associated with the UAV.”

Does this mean that the drones could be controlled by Tweets?! As with most new technology, the obvious and familiar concerns over hacking and hijacking of accounts could mean that hackers could have access to more resources in which they could fly unmanned vehicles wherever they please in 140 characters or less.

While Twitter has been relatively quiet about the new patent, “Drone Selfies” is about all their spokespeople have had to say.

You can check out more about Twitter’s drone activities by following @dronie .

2 Comments

Leave a Response

Tim Hinchliffe
Tim Hinchliffe is the editor of The Sociable. His passions include writing about how technology impacts society and the parallels between Artificial Intelligence and Mythology. Previously, he was a reporter for the Ghanaian Chronicle in West Africa and an editor at Colombia Reports in South America. tim@sociable.co