Twitter is certainly not the first social media outlet to collect outside data on users. Google and Facebook extrapolate data from its users in particular circumstances. For example, if a developer has integrated Facebook’s software, Facebook in turn might use the data to develop user experience information. However, Twitter’s new tactics are raising more privacy issues among users in comparison to how other social media networks track their users. Twitter’s data collection will start very soon. Users have the option to “opt out of interest-based ads,” or to turn on or off the “limit ad tracking” features. According to Twitter, if users decided to turn off either of these features, data will be wiped off of Twitter’s servers.
A recent Pew Research Center poll discovered that 80% of Americans who regularly use social media are worried about third parties and advertisers accessing personal data they share on these sites. By the same token, most users are willing to share a significant amount of personal information in exchange for using certain services for free.
Twitter has been using a variety of other methods to target ads at its users. These methods include knowing the users an individual follows, the specifics of their social network, how often they tweet, and how they participate in Twitter conversations. Ads are also curated based on the information in a person’s profile, their location, and their IP address.
Twitter believes aggregating people’s app-downloading activity will help them finely-tune their advertising strategies. Twitter has been struggling to increase its mobile revenue, and drawing data from users’ app-downloading activity is thought to give them information to better target ads dot their customers, and to successfully improve on their current mobile revenue.
(Photo courtesy of Karlis Dambrans)