Companies Following You on Twitter

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When you create a new account on a website or download a new update to a program that you use, you are most likely confronted with a massive block of text stating the terms and conditions of the website or program.  I’d love to meet someone who actually reads these things word for word and does not just scroll to the bottom and check the “agree” or “I read this” box because I know I never have.  Maybe we should start checking out what these agreements we are signing say; especially on social media.  Although you may know that Twitter promotes tweets based on our web history you may not know that they give out your personal information to advertisers as well.

Blogger David Griner stated that after visiting the Shorty Awards website to do some research on the Shorty Awards they followed him on Twitter about thirty minutes later. (Griner, 2014)  Usually Twitter will just use a person’s web history to tailor their promoted tweets toward a user, but this is one step further.  What Twitter is doing now is giving websites and companies that have your email your twitter handle so that they can follow you and directly send you promotions.  While you did agree to privately signup for an account on a website, or write down your email address for a store’s promotion you did not sign up for these organizations to publicly follow you on twitter.  Some users may not want people to see that they visit certain websites or subscribe to a particular store’s newsletter by that website or store following them on twitter.

Like every social media site Twitter does have privacy settings that you can tweak to make your account as public or private as you want.  In Twitter’s privacy settings you can manage if you want Twitter to tailor your experience based on your web history by turning that feature off or on, but this is not widely publicized by Twitter.  This makes us completely unaware of what Twitter is doing with our information until it’s already too late and companies have already started following us on Twitter.  Twitter says they give companies your information so that they can build loyal customers, and show that they care about each individual consumer.  Now I know that people, including myself, will never read the entirety of the terms and agreements page, but next time you sign up for an account on a website check the privacy settings because you may be surprised by what you find.

 

References

Griner, David. (2014). Sites that I Visit are Now Following Me On Twitter, and its Super Creepy. Adweek. Retrieved from: http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/sites-i-visit-are-now-following-me-twitter-and-its-super-creepy-155495

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3 thoughts on “Companies Following You on Twitter

  1. I actually have no problem with this. In my view, Twitter doesn’t have my address, social security number, or even a credit card number. I have no problems with the world seeing the sites I visit and bonus- more followers! I don’t know if this reflects the values that society has instilled in me in terms of privacy or how nonchalantly I am able to accept the world of advertising and consumerism that surrounds me, but I do know that the internet is a vast realm that connects you to everything and you have to take the good with the bad.

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  2. I like when companies follow me because it makes me feel as though my opinions and thoughts matter to their company. However, I don’t like following the companies back and have their post pop up on my home page and news feed. I ignore what they say and sometimes even end up unfollowing the company because of their overloading posts.

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  3. I’ve heard about sites like Facebook and Twitter using your Internet history to cater promoted ads to you. But I didn’t know that they’ll share your information to the point that companies can follow you based on your Internet history. I personally have my account set to private, so when a company asks to follow me, I can deny them.

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