Time to check your Twitter settings

If you open Twitter on the desktop right now you may get a notification that the company is updating is privacy policy.

The notification reads: We're updating our privacy policy to bring you a more personalized Twitter experience. We'll soon be making Twitter more relevant by using your visits to sites with Twitter content. And we've given you even more control over your data".

The prompt has a big "sounds good" button, and a smaller "review settings" link. The latter links directly to the "Personalization and Data" section of the Twitter settings.

Time to check your Twitter settings

twitter update

It may be a good time to check those settings, and others right now. The personalization and data page on Twitter is all about advertisement and tracking.

The following options are available on the page:

  • Personalize ads -- You won't see fewer ads if you disable that, but the ads may be less relevant.
  • Personalize based on your apps -- Personalizes the experience based on apps you use on your devices.
  • Personalize across all your devices -- Enables personalization on all devices you sign in.
  • Personalize based on the places you've been -- Uses location information for personalization.
  • Track where you see Twitter content across the web -- May use sites you visit for personalization.
  • Share data through select partnerships -- If enabled, has Twitter share data "through selected partnerships".

You can use the disable all button at the top to turn them all off, or uncheck some only.

What is probably more pressing right now is that some users reported on Twitter that the company has enabled location tagging without asking.

You can verify if that is the case by going to the Safety settings on Twitter to look up the status of the Tweet location preference. If it is checked, a location is added to your tweets automatically.

twitter location

I checked the preference, and it was not enabled by default on my system. Some users stated that this is being rolled out, and that it takes time to land on all user devices.

I don't really know whether that is the case or not, but you may want to check the setting just to make sure that you don't share your location with your tweets unknowingly.

You may want to go through the settings there as well, just to make sure that all are configured the way you want them to be.

Closing Words

If Twitter really turned on location tagging without user permission, that would be a big no-no and could backfire. The company did show a prompt on my device to inform me of personalization changes, but did not change the location tagging preference on the device.  It is best to check the preference anyway just to be on the safe side.

Now You: Was location tagging enabled on your devices? What about the personalization settings?

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Time to check your Twitter settings
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If you open Twitter on the desktop right now you may get a notification that the company is updating is privacy policy.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Responses to Time to check your Twitter settings

  1. Anonymous May 18, 2017 at 7:28 am #

    "Personalize based on your apps — Personalizes the experience based on apps you use on your devices"
    Is this twitter or is this windows 10?

  2. Tim May 18, 2017 at 10:00 am #

    I think you might have enabled location by accident Martin. The setting is as was for me.

    • Heimen Stoffels May 18, 2017 at 10:33 am #

      For me it was enabled without asking. So they definitely do that. But also read my reply below.

  3. Heimen Stoffels May 18, 2017 at 10:33 am #

    "What is probably more pressing right now is that some users reported on Twitter that the company has enabled location tagging without asking."

    Not sure if that really is a problem and I'll tell you why. I just checked and it's enabled for me without asking. But I've just posted a tweet to test and despite the setting being enabled, it didn't add a location. At least on twitter.com (note that I'm not usually tweeting from the Twitter website, but I thought I'd test it while I was there reviewing the setting). So I don't think this is gonna be a problem.

  4. Curtis K May 18, 2017 at 10:46 am #

    My account (@curtiskwong51) is private (not going to accept from unknown accounts).

  5. Anonymous May 18, 2017 at 11:31 am #

    A company enabling location tracking without the users consent and without notice is not a problem? I'd like to disagree.
    As for the setting, it was not enabled for me, so i'm still sceptical whether they do it or not.
    However, there are many people, journalists, activists relying on privacy, and accidentally posting their address might have dire consequences.
    There's also the issue of harassment and stalking. All in all its a terrible idea and unless you know what you're doing you should have it disabled at all times.

    As an aside:
    Notice how it says
    "This will delete location labels you have added to your Tweets. This may take up to 30 minutes."
    It doesn't say they will actually delete the locations from their database. They effectively build profiles of your movement and behavior (tweet content). Big data yay.

    Disable ASAP

  6. b May 18, 2017 at 11:52 am #

    I dont have a twitter account myself but do pass by on a daily basis to read my favourites. I noticed a banner recently: " By using Twitter’s services you agree to our Cookie Use and Data Transfer outside the EU. We and our partners operate globally and use cookies, including for analytics, personalisation, and ads. " it's the line: Data Transfer outside the EU that creeps me out.

  7. Mike O May 18, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

    I use self- destructing cookies extension, and aside from sites I have whitelisted, Cookies are removed when no longer used by site.

    • TelV May 18, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

      You can achieve the same results by accepting session cookies only.

      Having said that, you'll need an extension like BetterPrivacy to delete so called Super-cookies on exit: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/betterprivacy/

      • Mike O May 18, 2017 at 8:05 pm #

        I already have cookies set to delete on exit, but I want them gone faster. With self- destructing cookies it makes it more difficult for almost all sites to track me. I click to a new site and the previous site's cookies are gone in seconds. I like it.

        I do use BetterPrivacy.

  8. Rubenstein May 18, 2017 at 5:35 pm #

    There is a simple solution. Stay away from these meaningless antisocial media. They recklessly use your personal data to make a lot of money and turn you into an addictive freak who has lost control over his/her life. And your real social skills. How many times an hour do you pull out your toy to check it ?

    • A different Martin May 18, 2017 at 7:01 pm #

      I share your views but have a serious question: how can a political activist or organizer be effective without using tools like Twitter and Facebook, when most of your target audience is?

  9. Rubenstein May 18, 2017 at 9:51 pm #

    Trying to answer your question: how was it done before ? Public media, interviews, meetings, personal contact, flyers, events, contact to the basic, being available via phone - just to name a few. I'm sure there are much more possibilities to target an audience.

    And by far not every opinion/message is worth spreading. This narcisstic behavior to quack to the entire world about ones ability to take a breath or having a hangnail started with these silly self-centered antisocial media. I am not even sorry being so harsh about this junk since I've been experiencing the devastating consequences on a daily basis. Guess some have to hang themselves first to finallly understand. And some won't even get it at all. Thanks for your reply and have a nice day.

    • A different Martin May 19, 2017 at 7:04 am #

      @Rubenstein:

      "Public media, interviews, meetings, personal contact, flyers, events, contact to [with?] the basic [public?], being available via phone . . . ."

      To that, I would add traditional websites and mailing lists. I appreciate the thought that went into your reply, but in practice, these are no longer enough when the opposition is out in force on Twitter and Facebook. The audience you reach with traditional methods is just too limited. I really wish this weren't the case, because I abhor the personal tracking, profiling, and data-mining that come with social media, but I'm beginning to conclude that it's almost impossible to remain effective without it.

      "[N]ot every opinion/message is worth spreading. . . ."

      Agreed, but some are. Take my cause, for example: preventing squirrels from digging up and eating tulip bulbs. ;-) (But seriously, my mom used to hate that. And no, it's not really my cause.)

  10. Tom Hawack May 18, 2017 at 9:52 pm #

    "We'll soon be making Twitter more relevant by using your visits to sites with Twitter content." says Twitter.

    That's the problem, with social sites; social institutional sites which aim to be everywhere in one's life and for some of them even when a registered user is not logged in, and even when a user has no account! I call that a social cancer.

    So Twitter joins the band. Well I guess new anti-social blocking rules will appear consequently. Personally all social sites (I mean the big fat ones, thick as a Hollywood garbage) are banned here, blocked by url, domain, ip, scripts. It's the only way to put a cover on that garbage.

    So of course I'll agree with Rubenstein's above comment.

    To participate to 'A different Martin's questioning, my answer is that this world is more than ever a world of contradictions where the worst has made its way to finally be unavoidable. Think advertisement, think political campaigns based on medias and now on social trash, think Facebook which closes a site because of the image of a famous painting of a woman's nudity (L'Origine du Monde) but stays still in the face of hatred, racism and homophobia.

    Maybe a lot can be avoidable. All this has become a party. I guess it is more than ever imperious that everyone try to pause and think quietly, independently of brain washers. But I'm not sure those who do aim at libert of thoughts constitute a majority, whatever the country.

    • Rubenstein May 19, 2017 at 12:22 am #

      Totally agree. Thank you for your eloquent contribution.

  11. ddk May 19, 2017 at 3:17 am #

    Facebook, Twitter & other social media do not want anyone to think "independently". You are analyzed, chopped, sliced and diced into a marketable product. One may have opinions but most users don't question the business plan of these type of mega-corps.

    Their best targets are female especially younger ones. I see a lot more women than men always staring at their phones at least here in the Midwest USA. These scammers know the feminine psyche is more susceptible to advertising influences. We're in an ultra feminized society in the US, nothing portrays or encourages that more than mass media.

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