|A Little Birdie Told Me
By: Jessica Cherok
Twitter has been eavesdropping on us. The social media site made a big announcement this past week: its newest tool allowing analyses of the content of users' tweets.
When compared to Facebook's billion+ users, Twitter's 200 million seems small. Still, the company is projected to bring in somewhere around $600 million this year. The new tool is expected to contribute heavily to Twitter's bottom line.
Before, Twitter was only able to glean information about your interests by looking at who you followed; the new tools allow for the content to be analyzed, making it easier to target ads to you.
Unlike other social media sites, Twitter is either all public or all private in its account settings. There is no individualized privacy setting for each tweet. While most users have a good handle on how public their tweets are, many likely have not yet realized how much of their content is being harvested for targeted advertising.
Whether or not this will spark an outcry from Twitter users related to their privacy remains to be seen, but it seems unlikely. Still, if Twitter continues its attempts to increase advertising revenue via user data as it gets ready to go public, it’ll definitely receive more and more attention.
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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