SourceTwitter has admitted to using customer data for ads without users’ consent. This continues a trend of social networks continually pushing the bounds of what they can do with your data. Before we get into what you can do to limit how much data Twitter’s advertisers can use to target you, let’s look at why your data is so important to tech giants.
Your data is Twitter’s product
The pressure Twitter is under to increase advertising revenues must be intense. The world’s 12th largest social network is trying to keep up with Facebook. Facebook’s the world’s largest social network and is known to track its users relentlessly, even when its users are not on the site.
Check out Twitter’s ad buying system to get a sense of how extremely focused targeting tools use the data that is collected about you to monetize the site.
The microblogging platform used to support the Do Not Track browser preference. But it stopped because “an industry-standard approach to Do Not Track did not materialize.” Now users have to rely on more “granular” controls. And more “granular” means more work to lock down your information.
Until now, Twitter has avoided the flurry of privacy scandals that resulted in Facebook incurring the largest fine ever imposed on a company for violating consumers’ privacy. Yet the admission that advertisers were given information about users and inferences about their devices is just another reminder that your data can be extremely valuable.
Wondering what Twitter knows about you? F-Secure’s Data Discovery portal directs you to the archive of data the site has about you. WARNING: This archive can be quite large.
Let’s look at what you can do to limit the amount of data Twitter can share about you with advertisers.