Twitter wants to track your online habits – not just your activities on Twitter, but everywhere you go on the ‘net. Why? If you have a Twitter account, you know that it’s completely free to use. Sites like Twitter make their money by selling advertising. They will have a much more valuable product to sell if they can offer targeted marketing to merchants. Watching what we look at and how we react can tell a marketer lots about us. Here’s the definition of behavioural targeting from Wikipedia:
“Behavioral targeting works by anonymously monitoring and tracking the content read and sites visited by a user or IP when that user surfs on the Internet. This is done by serving tracking codes. Sites visited, content viewed, and length of visit are databased to predict an online behavioral pattern. A further refinement to behavioral targeting is Predictive Behavioral Targeting, where machine learning algorithms overlay behavioral patterns with sampled data, to create data-rich predicted profiles for every user.”
If this bothers you, there’s an easy way to turn off tracking.
1. Log into your Twitter account and click the gear icon in the upper right corner of the screen. Select settings.
2. Next step: Uncheck the two boxes I circled in red in the photo and make sure “do not track” contains a green check mark.
3. Remember to scroll down and click the save changes button.
Hats off to Twitter for making it easy to turn off tracking — and for announcing it so plainly in their blog.