Twitter has announced that it now honours Do Not Track requests so that users have more control over their privacy.
It’s one way you can opt out of follow recommendations that are tailored to you based on visits to websites and other Twitter accounts.
If you decide you don’t mind being tracked (or you use Chrome, see below) then Twitter will be showing more tailored ‘Who to follow’ suggestions to you based on accounts followed by other Twitter accounts and visits to websites in the “Twitter ecosystem”.
Othman Laraki, director of growth and international at Twitter explained:
“These tailored suggestions are based on accounts followed by other Twitter users and visits to websites in the Twitter ecosystem,”
“We receive visit information when sites have integrated Twitter buttons or widgets, similar to what many other web companies — including LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube — do when they’re integrated into websites.”
“By recognising which accounts are frequently followed by people who visit popular sites, we can recommend those accounts to others who have visited those sites within the last ten days.”
Cookies and cream
Do Not Track is a standardised privacy setting available in some browsers; it tells sites that you have opted out of tracking by way of an HTTP header.
By choosing not to be tracked at browser level, some websites will no longer allow third parties to note what websites you visit and when to inform advertising and analytics.
You may have noticed the use of the word ‘some’ several times there – and that’s the main problem with Do Not Track, not all websites agree not to track you and not all browsers offer the option in the first place.
Currently it’s only available for Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox, although Google promises that the option will come to Chrome browsers before the year is out (a Do Not Track Chrome extension is available now though).