Twitter has started tracking the Internet usage of its American users, just in time for the 4th of July – but you have the freedom to opt out.
Twitter is “experimenting with a way to make ads on Twitter more useful to our users in the United States by displaying promoted content from brands and businesses they’ve shown interest in,” the company said in a recent Twitter blog post. “Users won’t see more ads on Twitter, but they may see better ones.”
If you didn’t quite grasp that, it’s PR-speak for “we’re tracking you to make more money now.”
Users who don’t mind being tracked – or like it when ads are actually relevant – aren’t worried for obvious reasons. Everyone else need not panic, however, as Twitter is providing two opt-outs.
The first way to opt-out is to enable Do Not Track at the browser level. Twitter will respect this setting.
The second opt-out, which works regardless of your browser’s settings, can be found in Twitter’s account settings. Scroll down and you’ll see two new checkboxes, as shown.
Uncheck those and save your settings – just like that, Twitter will stop tracking your movements online.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation praised Twitter for being transparent and offering an opt-out. In an EFF blog post about Twitter’s new tracking policy, the nonprofit advocacy group, notable backers of the Do Not Track standard, called the move “the way forward for Do Not Track”.
“We think Twitter is setting an important example for the Internet: It is possible to exist in an ecosystem of tailored advertisements and online tracking while also giving users an easy and meaningful opt-out choice,” said the post.
What do you think? Is Twitter doing the right thing by providing users with a choice, and respecting Do Not Track? Or should they not be tracking Internet usage in the first place? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and remember: Twitter needs to make money somehow.