Twitter’s privacy policy changes collects more user data

by Rincey Abraham

Young businesswoman working in the office with laptop.

Social media is a great way for agents to stay in contact with past and potential customers. However, there are also some risks that many people don’t take into account when posting information online. Most users don’t pay close attention to the websites’ privacy policies and terms of service, which could put your information at risk.

Twitter’s Latest Update Worries Some Users

Twitter updated its privacy policy this month, which they say will be used to “further improve and personalize our services, connecting you with the stories, brands and organic content you care about most.” This, however, is because Twitter is sharing information and your browsing habits to advertisers.

What are the big changes coming to Twitter? Twitter now collects user’s off-Twitter web browsing for up to 30 days, up from its previous 10-day maximum, and will share this data with its advertisers. Also, Twitter no longer supports Do Not Track, which you could enable to stop advertisers from tracking your browser history.

Many people are wary of Twitter’s new policy for a number of reasons. First, every user automatically opt-ins to the program. So individuals will need to manually go in and turn off these settings.

Secondly, it is unknown exactly who will have access to the information collected by Twitter. Most companies use this information to allow more targeted advertising for its clients who want to reach specific users.

“Twitter’s announcement is bad news for online privacy. The company dropped Do Not Track and gave advertisers access to more user data,” Marc Rotenberg, president of the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center, said to the Associated Press. “Also, all of the settings now default to disclosure, which means users have to go in and change their privacy settings.”

How to protect yourself online

No free website is truly free. In order to make money, websites will monetize your data. Whether it is Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, users should regularly check the privacy settings on social media sites used to see what information is shared online.

To turn off the new Twitter tracking, users can head to their Twitter settings, choose “Privacy and Safety”, then “Personalization and data” and turn off personalized ads.

If you use Facebook to connect to other apps or websites, it is important to review those on a regular basis and remove any apps you don’t recognize or have not used recently. Dormant connections can lead to your information leaking out, especially if those older apps are hacked.

Protecting your information online is just as essential as locking your door when leaving your house in the morning. So it is crucial to stay informed on how websites are collecting and using your data.

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