Twitter recently revealed it will start tracking what apps Twitter mobile app users have installed on their handsets and will use the data to tailor advertisement content to their interests.
Recode first reported about the initiative called ‘app graph feature’. Twitter will update its Android and iOS apps to start gathering data about other apps users have installed. This will be done by running a query for the application names.
Details about the initiative were published on the Twitter support site, which indicates plans to scan apps installed on smartphones aside from the official Twitter app.
But the company makes an important statement about privacy; it says it will only collect the list of applications users have installed, and not collect any data residing within the applications.
Twitter is going to use this data to improve some features, including ‘who to follow’ suggestions, as well as show relevant promoted tweets and accounts in the user’s timeline. Promoted tweets, when relevant, will boost the company’s advertising business.
Amongst several reasons to start tracking apps, Twitter wants to make its service more user friendly to new members; several people have made Twitter accounts without any idea of who to follow. By scanning other apps installed on their handsets, the company will be able to provide tweets and accounts to follow according to their interests.
Twitter’s third quarter revenue figures revealed the company made $320 million from advertising, with 85 percent of the revenue coming from mobile ads alone. Tracking the apps will help the company provide better ‘promoted’ features; the results are likely generate greater revenue and profits from the firm’s advertising business.
One of Twitter’s rival, Facebook, also collects data on apps downloaded by users, but keeps this data gathering limited to apps that use the company’s SDK (software development kit). Google and Apple are yet to make a statement on Twitter’s decision to track other apps apart from its own app on iOS and Android handsets.
However, users can opt out of app tracking by following these steps:
On Android: Select the three dots on the top right of the screen. Then select Settings > the account you need to remove. Go to ‘other’ and turn off Tailor Twitter based on my apps.
On iOS: Go to ‘Me’ and select the gear icon. Select ‘Settings’ from the pop up menu and then choose the account that you do not want to be linked with ad-based targeted ads. Then go to the ‘privacy’ section and turn off Tailor Twitter based on my apps.
Will you opt out or let Twitter see your apps for a better experience?