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.
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