Twitter Monitors What Apps You Download. Here's How to Opt Out
Twitter will now be collecting data on what apps are installed in the smartphones of users through a feature known as 'app graph.'
Twitter made the announcement on the new feature in the social network's support website.
'To help build a more personal Twitter experience for you, we are collecting and occasionally updating the list of apps installed on your mobile device so we can deliver tailored content that you might be interested in,' Twitter wrote.
Twitter adds that the data that app graph collects will only be the list of apps within smartphones. The feature, the company stresses, will not collect any data that is found within the installed apps.
Twitter also listed some examples on how it will be utilizing the data acquired from app graph to improve the user experience on the social network. The examples include improving suggestions to users on who to follow based on similar interests, adding content to the timelines of users such as tweets and accounts that could prove to be interesting to the user, and showing the user promoted content that are more relevant.
Once the app graph feature is activated for a specific account, the user will see a prompt that says 'to help tailor your experience, Twitter uses the apps on your device.' If the prompt is not yet present, then the feature has not yet been activated.
Twitter added that users that have previously chosen to opt out of interest-based advertisements by turning on the 'Limit Ad Tracking' option on iOS devices or by making adjustments on the settings of Android devices to 'Opt out of interest-based ads' will not be affected by the new feature.
Nevertheless, perhaps in anticipation of more users that wish to keep information in their smartphones private, Twitter also detailed a step-by-step guide to turn off the app graph feature for both iOS and Android devices that will require users to switch off the 'Tailor Twitter based on my apps' option under Settings.
Twitter's introduction of the app graph feature could be a sign of making the service less intimidating for new users, as they will have no idea who to follow. Populating the new user's timeline with content right away will aid in the company's mission to address the slowing user growth for the social network.
The new feature will also improve the advertising services of Twitter, which made $320 million in revenues from advertising in the third quarter.
While Google and Apple have not yet released statements regarding Twitter's move to begin collecting data within Android and iOS devices, at the very least users are outright informed of the new feature, in case of any privacy concerns that each Twitter user may have.