While not as expansive as Facebook, Twitter is still used by upwards of 340 million people, this equates to 500 million tweets a day and a fifth of all American adults using Twitter. This means keeping your data and privacy safe on the platform is essential to keeping your life safe in reality.
Where to begin?
Lets start with opening the ‘Privacy and Safety’ menu, this is found by clicking your profile picture and selecting ‘Settings and Privacy’ and then ‘Privacy and Safety’ (Fig 1). Here you will see how many settings it is possible to change, while this guide will not be going into each one, we will cover the most important, such as ‘Ads preferences’, ‘Off-Twitter activity’, and ‘Data Sharing with business partners’.
Changing your advert preferences will stop Twitter personalising advertisements to you, in a similar way Facebook did. These platforms do this by monitoring your activity and using this activity to build a profile, these profiles will contain large quantities of information that they will use to create very specific and targeted ads. Unticking ‘Personalised Ads’ will prevent this (Fig 2), however, this is just the beginning. To really regain control of your data, you will need to select ‘Interests’ and ‘Your advertiser list’, both of these help Twitter build your personalised ad profile. In the interests page you can deselect any and all interests that you do not wish to be associated with, allowing you to customise the ads you see and the tweets that are shown on your homepage. Advertiser list on the other hand can be accessed and it is recommended you remove all advertisers and audiences from the list to prevent any data referencing your activities, hobbies or history being accessible by advertisement accounts.
NOTE: Bear in mind that the ‘Interests’ in this case also apply to the content you follow and as such changing these can have an affect on the content you see, only de-select interests that are either incorrect or invalid. This may have an adverse effect on your browsing experience.
The settings available to change on Twitter are minimal compared to those on Facebook, although they are no less powerful. The ability to prevent personalised ads prevents a large portion of your data from being accessible by these both the platform and the third-party companies linked with them.