What Twitter's privacy changes mean for you

Twitter is updating its privacy policy and it affects how your personal information is used

This Wednesday, April 26, 2017, photo shows the Twitter icon on a mobile phone, in Philadelphia.

Twitter on Thursday also announced that it will be participating in the Swiss-US Privacy Shield, and adhering to the Digital Advertising Alliance's Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising.

Twitter said the changes were "tools to give you more access to your information and greater, more granular control over how it's used". The move comes as the company reels from its first quarterly revenue drop since going public.

Coming into effect on 18 June, the new policy will allow the company to collect data on a user for up to a month as it aims to find out how people browse the web, in order to offer advertisers a better chance of targeting more personalised ads.

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. However, poor adoption means that many ad networks and websites ignore the option, making it very limited in its effectiveness. Some users, including your reporter, have reported that these new privacy settings remained on, even after specifically being turned off a few times. Google and Facebook will command a combined $110 billion of this. Finally, Twitter has also expanded the "Your Twitter Data" feature to include demographic and interest data, and advertisers that have included the user in their tailored audiences.

This week when you logged into Twitter you likely saw a giant pop-up notice announcing the policy change
This week when you logged into Twitter you likely saw a giant pop-up notice announcing the policy change

"Privacy is built into our DNA as a company and it's something we take an active role in promoting and advocating for across the world", said Twitter. "The company dropped Do Not Track and gave advertisers access to more user data", said Marc Rotenberg, president of the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center.

"We do not store webpage visit data for users who are in the European Union and EFTA states", Twitter confirmed.

Barring that, go to http://twitter.com/personalization on a browser; from an app, click the settings wheel from your profile, then choose "Settings" and "Privacy and safety".

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