Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

What Twitter's privacy changes mean for you

What Twitter's privacy changes mean for you

The primary change Twitter has made to its privacy policy is that it will now track your behaviour outside of its app and website.

The short answer is money.

A common phrase heard these days when it comes to the various services we access and use online is that if the product is free, then you are the product.

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This includes controlling how personalised ads appear based on locations you have been, and allowing the company to track what device you are using Twitter on, to tailor ads based on third-party content. Google and Facebook will command a combined $110 billion of this.

If you've used Twitter recently, you might have noticed a large pop-up informing you that the 140-character social network has updated its privacy policy.

That depends on whom you ask. Of course, the way you get connected to such personalization is by allowing Twitter to share more information with advertisers about you and your browsing habits. Here you'll also be able to see how many "Tailored audiences" you're a part of and how many of those are from advertisers.

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When the new message pops up, rather than clicking the "sounds good" button, select the "review settings" button instead. In a pop-up notification telling users of the change, Twitter chirps that you will "soon start to see more relevant Tweets and ads based on your visits to sites with Twitter content".

"We're also excited to announce that we will be participating in the Swiss-US Privacy Shield and adhering to the Digital Advertising Alliance's Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioural Advertising".

Nonetheless, Twitter, as a company, is more upfront about this practice than most and is providing an option to disable targeted ads, and a section where users can edit and even remove the data Twitter has collected in the past. "Also, all of the settings now default to disclosure, which means users have to go in and change their privacy settings". This is where you can make changes to whether Twitter can gather certain information about you as a user. For example, a few years back, Twitter tweaked its policy to allow itself to store off-Twitter web browser history for its users for up to 10 days. On the app, scroll to the bottom of the Personalization and data page in settings and tap See your Twitter data. You've now successfully tweaked your Twitter preferences to only share the personal data you want with the social network and its advertising partners.

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If you're using the iOS app, tap the gear icon, select Settings and privacy, tap Privacy and safety, and tap Personalization and data.

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