If you’ve logged into Twitter recently, you may have been confronted with a message like this:
That seems a little concerning, right? “Your ability to control mobile app advertising measurements has been removed.”
In more recent times, social apps have been working to give users more control over their data, but in this instance, Twitter says that its taking control away.
What’s the deal with that?
The specific detail data that Twitter’s looking to utilize here is information like the ads that you’ve seen in the app, and the unique ID of your device. Twitter provides this data to other ad platforms in order to help optimize ad performance.
As per Twitter:
“Twitter shares certain non-public personal information with certain digital advertising platforms to help measure and optimize the effectiveness of our efforts to market Twitter on those platforms. […] These advertising platform partners act as data controllers for this information.”
Specifically, Twitter shares this info with Google and Facebook.
“Twitter may share this information with these partners before you’ve signed up for Twitter (e.g. when you first open the app before creating an account) as disclosed prior to download in the Twitter app description in the App Store and Google Play, but does not offer you control over this data sharing until after you’ve created a Twitter account.”
So, Twitter uses Facebook’s SDK, as well as Google tracking, which can trace this information. The information can then be used in Twitter’s own analytics to help understand and optimize for audience behavior. Twitter says that users will retain some control over this information, but it will be tracked in some capacity, even if users opt to turn data tracking off in their settings – except for those living in the EU, where they come under the EU’s Cybersecurity Act.
As noted by The Verge, the update will help Twitter address problems with its usage tracking, which recently lead to a major miss in its earnings due to problems with its Mobile Application Promotion (MAP) framework.
Twitter issued an apology in October last year for using personal information that had been provided by users for account security purposes, in order to then match those people with more relevant ads. Twitter won’t be reverting to utilizing personal data in the same way, but this update will give Twitter access to more tracking data to help optimize its systems, and improve its targeting once again.
The significance of the update will be relative to your personal views on data privacy – such information is gathered by many sites and apps, and mostly without you knowing, with the agreements for such hidden in the fine print of the massive rules and conditions documents that you need to scroll through before ticking ‘I Agree’ and using the tool. No one reads those terms, which is what’s lead to apps being able to track your personal data in such detail, and use the same for advertising purposes – either their own or another brand’s via third-party tools.
In this respect, Twitter’s data-sharing regulations are, if anything, fairly tame, but the platform’s looking to provide total transparency over its processes moving forward. Hence the large alert in your Twitter feed.
So, maybe not a major concern, as there are no personally identifiable markers, as such, but relevant to note either way.
You can read more about Twitter’s updated data partnerships policy here.