Everyone’s been talking about privacy when it comes to Facebook and Google, but what about Twitter? Where can I see – and update – my Twitter account privacy and data settings?
Every social media site is a data mine and the data they’re mining is us. What we post, when we post, where we are when we post, who interacts and what they say. Time of day, day of week, holidays, weekends, late at night, it’s all a gold mine for merchants who keep coming up with more and more sophisticated “AI” systems to figure out what their customers have in common and how to target them with adverts. For the social media sites, it’s how they actually generate revenue because if their service is free, they gotta pay the bills somehow.
Twitter is no different and success ends up being the metaphorical two-sided coin; on the positive side, success breeds success and no social network can succeed without people using it. But on the negative side, we users are a finicky bunch with our data and privacy. Just because I am posting about my vacation, the car I drive, and where I live doesn’t mean I automatically want to share it all with advertisers who are paying Twitter – not me! – for the privilege of accessing my data record. And so Twitter wants to sell our data, but also wants to respect our individual desire for privacy.
Making this more interesting, the EU Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is poised to become law for a huge percentage of the online population the end of May, 2018. After that, we’ll all gain more access to our data and more settings that will let us gain control over our data and what happens to it. In fact, this morning Twitter popped up a warning about the upcoming changes, though it didn’t mention GDPR by name:
If you see this, click on “Review Settings“, or just go to the main menu on Twitter (top right of the Web interface) then choose “Settings and Privacy“. On the left side menu make sure you’ve chosen “Privacy and safety“:
Now on the right are a raft of choices. A ton of choices, really. And it’s just going to get more complex… but here are some of the main choices:
These are two of the biggest and most important settings for your Twitter account: