Your Twitter experience is now slightly less private. As its revenue faces headwinds, Twitter announced it’s withdrawing a privacy setting that allowed users to control whether some of their data should be shared with third-party advertisers. The move, Twitter said in a notification sent to users on Wednesday, will help it “continue operating as a free service.”
Prior to this update, you had an option called “Share your data with Twitter’s business partners” to prevent Twitter from sharing information such as ads you saw or interacted with and your phone’s tracking identifier with advertisers. That’s now enabled by default with no opt-out for everyone except for those who live in the European Union, the European Free Trade Association, and the United Kingdom.
“The control you have over what information Twitter shares with its business partners has changed. Specifically, your ability to control mobile app advertising measurements has been removed, but you can control whether to share some non-public data to improve Twitter’s marketing activities on other sites and apps. These changes, which help Twitter to continue operating as a free service, are reflected now in your settings,” Twitter wrote in the notification.
This, however, doesn’t mean Twitter is now actively compromising any of your personal information. Advertisers still don’t get access to data like your name, email, phone number, and username.
You can also still choose to keep your non-public data to yourself by toggling the “Allow additional information sharing with business partners” option from Settings > Privacy & Safety > Personalization & Data. In addition, enabling this will make sure Twitter doesn’t hand out your non-public data to other tech advertising platforms like Google and Facebook — which Twitter said it now employs to market itself.
“We’re updating a data sharing setting that relates to sharing additional information with business partners, specifically to measure the effectiveness of mobile app ads on Twitter. This is part of our ongoing work around transparency and control. We want to ensure that people understand the settings we provide, what they do, and how to use them,” a Twitter spokesperson told Engadget in a statement.
Incidentally, Twitter blamed its third-quarter earnings slump last year partly on flaws inside its mobile app advertising tech which, due to a bug, also inadvertently used users’ phone numbers and email addresses for ad targeting.