Codebreaker

Twitter gets behind “Do Not Track”

Marc Sanchez May 18, 2012

Twitter announced yesterday that, if users choose, it won’t record information about them and the sites they visit. In a blogpost from Twitter’s Director of Growth and International, Othman Laraki writes,

As the Federal Trade Commission’s CTO, Ed Felten, mentioned earlier today, we support Do Not Track (DNT), which is reflected in our privacy policy as one of the ways you can indicate your preference. If you have DNT enabled in your browser settings, we will not collect the information that enables this feature…

However, Twitter really wants you to leave the feature on, and if you do so, you will be “rewarded” with a better list of suggestions of people you might like to follow. You see if Twitter can track your browsing habits, it can see what you’re into. The New York Times explains how the new discovery system will work:

When new users sign up for Twitter, the company will deliver a cookie to their computers that will allow it to look at the sites they have visited over the previous 10 days that have ”Tweet” buttons or Twitter widgets. Thus it will know about their previous browsing habits.

Twitter seems to have learned from the mistakes from other sites like, Google, which implemented a similar plan to uproarious results. The main difference is that Twitter is being very upfront about what it’s doing, giving users the option to opt out from the beginning. Twitter also says that if you do allow tracking, it’s not using your information for anything other than making suggestions on whom you should follow.

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