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Twitter Jumps on Do Not Track Bandwagon

Twitter recently announced it will support the Do Not Track (DNT) initiative by honoring requests from Twitter users who  do not want their online behavior recorded. The announcement appeared this morning in the Twitter Help Center. “We are committed to providing you with meaningful choices about the information we collect to improve your Twitter experience,” the announcement said.

The Federal Trade Commission has endorsed DNT as a simple way for users to tell web services that offer content across the Internet–such as buttons, widgets, and other embedded features–that they do not want information about their web page visits collected across web sites.

“When you turn on DNT in your browser,” Twitter’s announcement said, “we stop collecting the information that allows us to tailor Twitter based on your recent visits to web sites that have  integrated our buttons or widgets. Specifically, we remove from your browser the unique cookie that links your browser to visits to web sites in the Twitter ecosystem. We then cannot provide tailored suggestions for you.”

By “tailored suggestion” Twitter is referring to ads for products the service knows you’ve been looking at on other Web sites. For example, if earlier you had been browsing through cameras at eBay, Twitter would use knowledge of that browsing to tailor a suggestion that you check out the sale on camera equipment Best Buy is having.

Twitter’s announcement said the service turns off DNT by default in the following circumstances:

  • In the case of new users signing up for Twitter with DNT already enabled, the check box on the signup page that says “Tailor Twitter based on my recent website visits” will be unchecked.
  • If someone had already ready joined Twitter and visited with DNT enabled in the days before Twitter began making tailored suggestions, the Personalization checkbox in the users’ account settings will be unchecked.
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The announcement includes instructions for enabling DNT in major browsers. In the coming weeks, groovyPost will provide even more in depth coverage of the new DNT implementations.

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