Everyone’s favorite micro-blog announced two days ago it will start keeping more data about you and keep it longer in an effort to sell more advertising and try to salvage its bottom line. (Twitter reported in April its first quarterly revenue drop since becoming a publicly-traded company.)
— Twitter (@Twitter) May 17, 2017
To be honest, privacy policies by online companies should really be called not-so-much-privacy policies but that’s another story. If you don’t know by now you should – and it’s a little late to discover – everything you do online is tracked by some company or entity or government. There is no online privacy.
Twitter altered its algorithms last year to better track you and – went the theory – provide in your feed tweets more relevant to your interests.
But give Twitter its due in this respect. At least it’s being upfront about it all and giving users a chance now to opt out of the most detailed data to be tracked under the new policy.
“We’ve launched new Personalization and Data settings and expanded Your Twitter Data to give you more transparent access to your information and more granular controls over how your data is used by Twitter,” explains the little blue bird. “These enhanced settings will replace Twitter’s reliance on the Do Not Track browser setting, which we will no longer support.”
Hardly any online company respects the Do Not Track browser settings. Dropping its support just puts Twitter on par with nearly every other online company.
“We’ve updated how we store and use data from other websites that integrate Twitter content like embedded timelines, to improve our services and personalize the content we show you, including ads,” says Twitter. “We do not store web page visit data for users who are in the European Union and EFTA States.”
“We’ve updated how we share non-personal, aggregated, and device-level data, including under select partnership agreements that allow the data to be linked to your name, email, or other personal information if you give the partner your consent,” Twitter continues. “You can control whether your data is shared under these partnership agreements in your Personalization and Data settings.”
This is the part where Twitter is telling you it will not only track your Twitter activity but also everything else you do online: which sites you visit, where you travel, what you do and post about what you do. By this method Twitter, like all the other companies, will tell advertisers what it thinks are your interests.
The Personalization and Data settings will also allow Twitter users to see into which audience segments Twitter has placed them and, maybe, how many advertisers are trying to reach them.
“We’re excited to announce that we will be participating in the Swiss-US Privacy Shield program and adhering to the Digital Advertising Alliance Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising,” posted the Blue Bird.
This is Twitter trying to get ahead of the ad-blocking game. Over a quarter of all internet users in the U.S. now use ad-blocking software.
We still like to think Twitter is run by the “good guys” and we hope it stays that way as the internet continues turning darker and darker, more threatening by the day.