How To Stop Twitter From Sharing Your Data With Advertisers

How To Stop Twitter From Sharing Your Data With Advertisers
Photo: <a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/chiangmai-thailand-jul-102019smartphone-open-twitter-1475227562">Shutterstock</a>

Know before you tweet: Twitter now sells more information about your activity on its platform to third-party advertisers regardless of which privacy options you turn on or off. Users signing onto the service were recently greeted with a push notification informing them that the company changed its privacy policy and no longer allows its users to opt-out of having their data shared with other companies. As Twitter (confusingly) wrote:

“The control you have over what information Twitter shares with its business partners has changed. Specifically, your ability to control mobile app advertising measurements has been removed, but you can control whether to share some non-public data to improve Twitter’s marketing activities on other sites and apps. These changes, which help Twitter to continue operating as a free service, are reflected now in your settings.”

What does that mean in plain English? As a Twitter spokesperson elaborated to Adweek’s David Cohen, the change in user privacy settings is only part of Twitter’s new ad strategy:

“Twitter shares certain non-public personal information with advertisers who run mobile app advertising campaigns through Twitter. This information can include which ads a particular browser or device saw, watched or otherwise interacted with; but it does not include your name, email, phone number or Twitter username. For example, Twitter might share that a mobile device identifier viewed or clicked on an ad for a particular mobile application.”

Should this bother you? If you live a country in the European Union in which the GDPR is in effect—that’s the General Data Protection Regulation—you can still opt out of sharing this information. Otherwise, Twitter’s going to do it, and there’s nothing you can do about it. At least your activity is still “anonymous,” as much as any kind of advertising or tracking mechanism is actually anonymous nowadays.

You can still control some of what you share to Twitter advertisers, however, and now’s as good a time as any to revisit those settings.

How to prevent Twitter from tracking you and your data

Screenshot: David Murphy
  1. Open the Twitter app or homepage

  2. Go to your Settings and privacy page, found by either tapping on your profile picture in the upper-left corner of the app or clicking on this link for the web-based version of Twitter

  3. Tap or click on the Privacy and safety sub-section, then Personalisation and data

Each option on this page covers a specific type of information Twitter collects and, in many cases, shares with other businesses. Unchecking a box next to one of the categories will disable that data from being tracked—in theory.

Our advice? Uncheck everything. Tap or click the “Personalisation and data” toggle at the top of the page to disable all the settings in the Personalisation and data menu. Doing so turns off all data collection and sharing—at least, the data and collection that users are given control over. While that doesn’t mean you’re anonymous on Twitter—or that you still aren’t being tracked or profiled in some capacity—every little bit helps. Isn’t online advertising fun?

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