When you visit a site that features a tweet button or an embedded tweet, Twitter is able to recognize that you’re on that site and use that information to target you with ads. And now it’s going to hang on to that information for a bit longer but give you more control over it.
Coinciding with the update, Twitter has also added a new section to the settings menu on its site and in its mobile apps that details the information Twitter uses to target a person with ads and lets that person deselect individual interest categories as well as request a list of the companies that use Twitter’s Tailored Audiences option to target them with ads based on information like their email address, Twitter handle or whether they visited the advertiser’s site or used its mobile app.
At the same time as Twitter is giving people more control over how they are targeted, it is removing support for Do Not Track, which people can use to ask every website they visit not to track their behavior in order to target them with ads. Twitter made a big deal about supporting Do Not Track in May 2012, so its reversal is a surprise — unless you’ve been following the wave of major ad-supported digital platforms opting to ignore Do Not Track requests. When Hulu announced last July that it would no longer support Do Not Track, it joined nine other major digital platforms that do not respond to these opt-out requests. Now Twitter has joined that list.
Twitter explained its change in position in an update to the Do Not Track entry on its help site. “While we had hoped that our support for Do Not Track would spur industry adoption, an industry-standard approach to Do Not Track did not materialize,” according to the company.
That’s pretty much the same reason that Hulu, Facebook, Google and others have cited for not supporting Do Not Track, though the standard is slated to become an official recommendation by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in August 2017.