Mini Updates, Programming, Technology

The latest product and policy updates from Twitter – Targeted Ads

Twitter will track you
Twitter will track you

The word on the block is that Twitter is moving increasingly towards generating more revenue through targeted advertising. Apparently as part of their plan to further monetise their ‘free’ service, Twitter intends to jam ads onto your screen that are tailored to your interests based on their past tweets and possibly browsing history (since they will put a tracking cookie on your machine).

Great, just what we need. More online services collecting information on us to sell to advertisers/anyone interested. Like the tracking in Google’s Gmail isn’t bad enough already, now Twitter is planning do the same. Talk about a complete invasion of privacy. I like how they phrase their plan to track our every move as:  “a way to make ads on Twitter more useful to our users“. Wow.

Twitter’s new ads and content tracking policy was confirmed for me today when I received Twitter updates email where they outline some of the latest features being released. I’m including the full text of the notice below. Not surprisingly, buried at the bottom of the email is a description of their new advertising and tracking plan.

It seems that Twitter will prototype its advertising program with users in the United States and soon after this will become international.

At least for now the option exists to opt out of the Twitter TAILORED advertising program. Note: they do not explain how to opt out of ads completely, just how to stop your history from being recorded and served up to you in ads.

How kind of them. I’ll bet that most users who get this email don’t read past the rather inane updates listed at the start and will completely miss the advertising and tracking opt-out policy.

Without further ado here is the email issued today by Twitter:

Hi [NAME],
 
We’ve been busy at work to make Twitter even more fun, useful, and secure. In just the last month or two, we’ve introduced:
 
  • Vine for Android: Vine is the best way to see and share life in motion. Create short, beautiful, looping videos in a simple and fun way for your friends and family to see. Now available on Google Play (and available for iPhone in the App Store).
  • Windows Phone and BlackBerry app updates: Take advantage of the latest Twitter features and functionality wherever you go. Find these apps on our mobile downloads page.
 
Now, we’re set to experiment with a way to make ads on Twitter more useful to our users in the United States by displaying promoted content from brands and business they’ve shown interest in. These tailored ads are based on information, such as browser-related information (a browser cookie ID), that our ad partners share with us. Learn more in our blog posthere.
 
While we want to make our ads more useful, we also want to give users simple and meaningful privacy options. Simply uncheck the box next to “Promoted content” in your account settings, and Twitter will not match your account to information shared by our ad partners for tailoring ads. This is the only place you’ll need to disable this feature on Twitter.
 
And because Twitter supports Do Not Track (DNT), Twitter will not receive browser-related information from our ad partners for tailoring ads if you have DNT enabled in your browser.
 
We’ve always got more updates coming, so keep your eye on the Official Twitter Blog or follow @twitter for the latest. In the meantime, visit our Help Center for more information about these options, and check out the short update to our Privacy Policy under Third Parties. Thanks for using Twitter!
 
The Twitter Team
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