Mind Your Tweets, Because Twitter is Tracking You (Unless You Tell Them Not To)

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bill-swift - May 22, 2012

A number of critics saw past Twitter's announcement of its new tailored suggestions systems and instead called out the social network for transparently tracking its users' activities on the Internet. If you've been wondering why you're being shown certain Twitter follow recommendations of personalities or brands that you can relate to, then you now have your answer.

This indirect admission was made on Twitter's blog by Othman Laraki, who is the director of Twitter's Growth and International division.

These tailored suggestions are based on accounts followed by other Twitter users and visits to websites in the Twitter ecosystem. We receive visit information when sites have integrated Twitter buttons or widgets.

By recognizing which accounts are frequently followed by people who visit popular sites, we can recommend those accounts to others who have visited those sites within the last ten days.

-- Othman Laraki, Director of Growth and International

Twitter was quick to respond to these accusations by committing to follow the Do Not Track flag, which allows users to opt out from sharing their personal data with sites that are outside of the social media service. To block data sharing, users must use a browser that supports Do Not Track and enable the feature while they browse online.

Twitter also clarified a few issues with regards to its users' privacy and browsing history, insisting that it would not "sell web browsing history to advertisers" nor "maintain browsing history" records of its users.

Article by Hazel Chua
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