Just this past week, social network Twitter unveiled a new tool for advertisers called tailored audiences that allows companies to promote relevant messages to specific audiences on the site. If that raises a red privacy flag to you, it should: It means that Twitter is partnering with third parties to keep track of your movements around the web so it can better sell ads.
Twitter is far from the only company that aggressively tracks you around the Internet, though – Facebook does it, and so does Google. Techlicious generally recommends that you opt out of these kinds of ad tracking schemes. By allowing a third party to collect data on you, you risk malicious strangers gaining access to your life through a single hack. And if you think it can’t happen, you’re wrong – massive data leaks occur on a frighteningly regular basis.
Opting out of Twitter’s new privacy trampling feature is easy so long as you know where to look. Log in to Twitter and click the cogwheel icon. Choose settings from the drop down menu, then choose ‘Security and privacy’ from the left-hand menu. Then un-check Promoted Content, and you’re opted out.
Unfortunately, that only puts a block on Twitter from getting data from these third party companies – it doesn’t actually stop these third parties from tracking you. And that’s really what you want to be stopping. If you’d like to stop third party advertisers from tracking you, the Sophos Naked Security blog recommends you contact Twitter’s 10 ad tracking companies directly to opt-out of each. That way, you’ll not only block Twitter from tracking you, but you’ll also block other websites as well.
The opt-out links to the 10 ad partners are as follows:
Of course, opting out will only protect your browsing history – sites like Facebook and Twitter will still be able to use information you voluntarily offer about yourself. To learn more about maximizing your privacy online and browse anonymously, read up on our Comprehensive Guide to Facebook Privacy Settings, then take a look at these 5 Google privacy settings you should check.
[Privacy concept via Shutterstock]