Twitter Gives Advertisers Your User Data

Twitter Gives Advertisers Your User Data

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Twitter users will not be able to opt out of Twitter's Promoted Tweets program.

Big Twitter is watching you. It sees your Tweets, diligently sorts through them for helpful marketing data, and passes that data on to advertisers; all part of its Promoted Tweets campaign, in which those with products to sell get to send Tweets to customers they think are most likely to buy. So far the list of topics Twitter is keeping an eye on is relatively small - about 350 individual topics - but you can expect that to grow, once the Promoted Tweets program gets out of Beta.

"By targeting people's topical interests," said Kevin Weil, Twitter's Director of Product Management, "you [the marketer] will be able to connect with a greater number of users and deliver tailored messages to people who are more likely to engage with your Tweets." He went on to say that Twitter has "always taken a thoughtful approach to monetization, and early results show interest targeting creates a better experience for marketers and users." The full text can be found here.

It's precisely this that inspired Dalton Caldwell to create a pay-to-Tweet service. Third party developers have also claimed that changes in Twitter's Rules of the Road were put in place to force them off the network, leaving the way clear for Twitter's Promoted Tweets.

Can you opt out of the Promoted Tweets system? Not according to Twitter's FAQ; users can dismiss individual Promoted Tweets once they arrive, but "they will not be able to opt out of seeing ads in the timeline." After all, having gone to all the trouble of collecting all that user information and passing it on to marketers, the last thing Twitter wants is for you to opt out of its advertising program. Twitter does say that, once you see a Promoted Tweet, you "will never see that Promoted Tweet again," but that doesn't mean a different Promoted Tweet on the same topic from the same marketer won't show up in your feed. The Promoted Tweet has to appear in your feed before you can dismiss it, so the Promoted Tweet will already have achieved its objective even if you'd rather not have seen it in the first place. Twitter has created an advertiser's dream; promotions that can't be avoided, and which are targeted directly at those apparently most interested in their product.

Source: Guardian, Twitter

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To all you Twitter users out there who value your privacy, here's a little something for you.
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Aaaaand there went the last social media I had an account on. Until someone makes a browser plugin that kills these ad-tweets, Twitter can go violate their TOS with a hashtag. Put in whatever meaning you want there.

Sooner or later the only communication I'll have with others online will be Steam and IRC, which is frankly a rather sad comment on the state of the internet at the moment.

Yesterday twitter was 'on the side of the people' for not handing over data from an 'Occupier' to a Judge (whether the court order was legal/just or not).

Today they'll happily hand over your info marketers, advertisers, and no doubt to corporations. Then spam you with advertisements.

Hooray.

As far as I know Twitter didn't have any sources of income. So it is only logical that some form of advertisement would pop up sooner or later. We have seen it happen to Facebook and now we get to see it on Twitter.

Why is it that even targeted advertisements tend NOT to be helpful? I think the number of times an advertisement on a website other than Steam has increased my interest in a product is approximately zero.

Given how many times I watched advertisements for Secret World when I was binging Escapist Videos a month ago, they probably could've given me a free copy for cheaper than the amount they spent on paying the Escapist to show me that video literally 200 times.

Speaking of: New advertising idea for indie game: instead of a standard banner ad, get a bunch of Steam keys, and pay the website you're putting the advertisements on to randomly distribute the game keys among active members of the website via private message or whatever. Sure, 90% of them may not care, but I think it would have a much higher effectiveness rating than spamming the same vidya ad five times per person. Also cheaper to do because it effectively costs you only the ability to sell those people the game, which is negated by the fact they had never heard of it ahead of time.

and now I don't feel bad about deleting my account.

The irony is that Twitter wouldn't have to forgo an opt-out option if they'd just advertised this feature better. Of course, there'll probably be some sort of Twitter Premium option later.

This is the kind of shit that I was steering away from preemptively by not signing up for any social media sites...

I mean barring the Escapist, but I hardly think that this site counts, it's a forum.

Twitter are using advertising to support a service I get for free, and making it so the adverts might be something I'm actually interested in, rather than colleges on a different continent or viagra, by running searches on information I made public by tweeting about it in the first place? The cads!

Seriously, guys. Advertising funds the internet as we know it. Chill the heck out. Title of this made it look like they were handing out my email address or phone number or something.

If there is one thing I hate, it's adverts. fortunately although I have a Twitter account, I don't use it, so unless I get emails about this shit, then I don't care.

However, anyone that uses Twitter on a regular basis will be mortified by this, so wait for the petitions and start sending complaints.

Yesterday "Our Twitter users have a right to privacy! We view their tweets as private as an email, we will not bend our will on this matter"
Today "Shit, you'll pay how much!? Sure thing, here's all of the Tweets! Huh, privacy? They shouldn't have signed up if they wanted privacy!"

Frankly I understand. Free services can't be free forever, and advertising is a sure-fire source of income. And since I'm alright with the possibility of Tweets and Twitter being public information, I'm perfectly alright with them doing this (especially since I don't have a Twitter account). At the same time, I just can't help but laugh at the duality of all of this

So you now get spam on twitter? nice.
I don't have an account, not enough going on in my life worth spamming the world to death with, but god damn. Everything must be monetized, preferably dripping with ads, huh.
(Then again, it's hard to maintain servers. But I guess there are better ways than FUCKING AD TWEETS.)

Doesn't bother me. Its a free service, and I'm capable of ignoring a promoted tweet if it doesn't interest me, just like Im capable of ignoring some of the random crap some of the people I follow spout sometimes.

Dont know where this belief that Twitter is somehow giving out private data has come from - its not. Its simply picking keywords in your public tweets and saying to advertisers, "Yeah, this bloke mentioned 'giant rubber buttplugs' a lot in his tweets, you should target him with your anal soothing cream marketing.". There is the whole argument (even that case going on at the moment) as to whether a tweet could in some way be counted as "private" but I think theres nothing going on here that warrants an exodus from Twitter.

Tbh I'd much rather see targeted advertising that may actually lead me to find something that interests me over generic adverts any day of the week.

PublicityPixie:
Twitter are using advertising to support a service I get for free, and making it so the adverts might be something I'm actually interested in, rather than colleges on a different continent or viagra, by running searches on information I made public by tweeting about it in the first place? The cads!

Seriously, guys. Advertising funds the internet as we know it. Chill the heck out. Title of this made it look like they were handing out my email address or phone number or something.

Except they only use key words without any intelligence or reasoning behind them deciding what you would be interested in so essentially you can tweet or check out a tweet about Gay S&M and whether you were for or against it, if they have a gaybar that features latex and whips, congrats you're about to get a whole lot of invites to hook up with a gimp.

This is the equivalent of email spam that gained sentience and decided it hated you, where instead of dropping instantly into your junk folder or getting deleted the instant you read the subject and sender, now it LOUDLY opens itself and jumps onto your desktop forcing you to look for a delete button, and theres no junk, spam flag or any other button, you are forced to get them against your will.

Atleast with the rest of the internet<the parts i bother to visit since anything more aggressive can go to hell with their advertisers> they have bars that you can IGNORE while you go about your business if you aren't interested while this requires an actual response/retaliation.

huh, glad I'm not on twitter

I thought it was assumed that everything on the internet does this anyway? Isn't the Escapist selling all our stuff to EA and Activision?

snekadid:
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I don't see the tweets as any different to banner ads. They're bits of advertising on a page of a service I get for free, supporting that page. The targeting won't be perfect, it never is, but even if they weren't targeted I wouldn't mind, and targeting can't make them WORSE.

I'm just frustrated at the article implying this is an invasion of privacy. It's not using your personal data, it's using what's right there on your profile and in your tweets for the world to see.

Meh, I get spam anyway. I'll just block the sender as such and go on my merry way.

Yeah, I'm in the "not a big deal" camp either.

All companies need to make money to pay their employees, keep the servers running, and earn their investors a profit. They can do that by:

1. Charging customers for the product/service. (e.g. selling physical things, games, etc.)
2. Create something people use or look at, then collect money from advertisers who want to sell stuff to your audience. (e.g. TV, ad-driven sites, etc.)
3. Get a bunch of users, gather information about them, and then sell the information.

If you're using a service and you're not paying money to them, #2 or #3 is happening. Or it will happen soon, 'cause otherwise the company is just burning through its capital. As consumers we have the choice whether or not to use a service. I like the Escapist site, so I'm willing to be shown an ad every so often. But I find it bizarre when people get outraged that companies are trying to make money from them. That's what companies do.

I actually approve of this. All Twitter is doing, (so it seems) is collecting publicly available information and passing it on to marketers. The end result is a few ads that actually apply to me, and a free Twitter site. The title of this article made it sound like they were giving out e-mail addresses and phone numbers.

So giving the police tweets to help in a criminal case, bad. Giving large corporations tweets to pester users with bullshit, good.
Gotta love the Internet these days. Wait no, not love. What's the word that means the exact opposite of that?

Jetsetneo:
Yesterday twitter was 'on the side of the people' for not handing over data from an 'Occupier' to a Judge (whether the court order was legal/just or not).

Today they'll happily hand over your info marketers, advertisers, and no doubt to corporations. Then spam you with advertisements.

Hooray.

No, they do not "hand over your information to advertisers". Advertisers check a box regarding which category their product belongs to, and twitter shows that ad to anyone who - based on their activity - might be interested. At no point companies are given lists of user names, or even the ability to advertise to all followers of a certain feed.

Sure, getting repeated ads for low-quality video games and dating services is downright obnoxious, but did you really expect Twitter to run the service out of the goodness of their hearts?

People know every time they use Google, the Google team stores that information and remembers their browsing patterns, right? Their hard drives storing this shit are stored in huuuge warehouses, collecting dust and remembering your every move.

This isn't new. Since the internet began, every key press you've made was recorded and has been used against you at some point.

And the eternal struggle of internet privacy continues. Its a shame money buys morals.

Eh, I'm not on twitter.

Boudica:
People know every time they use Google, the Google team stores that information and remembers their browsing patterns, right? Their hard drives storing this shit are stored in huuuge warehouses, collecting dust and remembering your every move.

This isn't new. Since the internet began, every key press you've made was recorded and has been used against you at some point.

FB isn't much better. I'm not really a huge social networking person anyhow. I prefer to socialize either face to face or via cell phone.

Wow, it's almost as though the simple fact that every time a large social networking system attempts to monetize itself too heavily, it collapses, is totally incomprehensible to people with business degrees.
It's -so- obvious that when things get just a -little- too obtrusive, people will move on, yet no network site can help pushing it's luck, the people at the top salivate at the "Prospect" of profits based on their user numbers, and push the big red "Destroy everything we've built in the mindless and ultimately futile and unsuccessful pursuit of profit" button.

If this is true then why I am I getting advertisements on Twitter for boy bands? My twitter account tweets like 98% Transformers, 1% Call of Duty, 1% other video games.

I'm unclear, maybe because I've been beta-ing this without knowing it. Are promoted tweets new? I've been seeing them in my feed for weeks if not months.

Also, from my experience with them, they are MILDLY annoying, at worst. I see a "Promoted Tweet" once in a while, and it is gone quickly with a dismiss.

Guess what service always advertised products relevant to my interests and!

Fucking Steam and no others!

Heh, it's a good thing all the information on my Twitter account is fucking bogus. :D

Yet another good reason why I don't have a Twitter account.

PublicityPixie:
Twitter are using advertising to support a service I get for free, and making it so the adverts might be something I'm actually interested in, rather than colleges on a different continent or viagra, by running searches on information I made public by tweeting about it in the first place? The cads!

Seriously, guys. Advertising funds the internet as we know it. Chill the heck out. Title of this made it look like they were handing out my email address or phone number or something.

So are TV shows, so what? Have ads, fine, but dont tell me that selling my info to a company so they know exactly what I am doing is somehow better for me. You can have ads WITHOUT breaking down my right to privacy. And if you are thinking for a second that this will mean you will get ads that relate to you in some way to the point where you would actually want to purchase something, dont make me laugh. The connection between what you tweet and what you want to buy is tenuous at best. The only people who gain form this are is Twitter, because now they can charge more for advertising as its coming with data. Neither you or the companies are getting something substantial, but Twitter has an advertising hook (because they have to advertise their advertising space) that they can sell to companies (and "hooks" are not always, and in this case arent, real benefits).
And who says they wouldnt hand out phone numbers and email addresses if they could? you know those "store credit cards" or "points cards"? Thats exactly what they do, they sell your personal information to data companies who compile info on you to sell to other companies, and the store itself uses the data on what you buy to send you spam themselves (which unlike Twitter has a point because what you buy IS correlated to wht you are going to buy).

tl;dr they do not need to sell my data to have ads.

 

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