It isn’t anything new, but even still many users don’t know how Twitter comes up with its Personalized Suggestions, the list that the social network provides of people that you might be interested in following. The service, which began in May, collects information as you visit websites as usual, and Twitter wants to continue using it because it has been highly successful, something it announced at the SMX. However, it is a practice that could threaten the privacy and security of its users.
As the company said, “the service receives information from websites that have integrated Twitter social buttons, plugins and widgets, the same way that other companies do so, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Youtube.” So, Twitter, recommends some users to you according to your own interests and the websites you have visited in the last ten days.
In the beginning, it was a service that was launched to keep track of users outside the United States, so the company could better analyze and keep track of foreign users and avoid possible security threats. Interestingly, in Spain, and in this author’s case specifically, the option doesn’t seem to be available. It is still unknown how many users the service tracks, and it is likely that the American users are tracked in a different way than those outside of the U.S.
In fact, this type of data tracking is very popular, but not all websites are as transparent as Twitter about how they use it. Despite how good it can be for measuring the public usage and improving the product, a mass collection of personal data is in no way a positive thing.
The social network, which is aware of how displeasing the practice can be, allows you to turn it off. If you go to your settings, all you have to do is uncheck the “Personalization” option which is turned on by default. However, it is more recommended that you activate the Do Not Track (DNT) option in your web browser so that other websites cannot do the same thing. Despite Twitter’s good intentions, tracking your personal information isn’t always what users want.