Twitter has made a big move this week in the Privacy stakes by implementing a series of Do Not Track initiatives that will give users more control in the messages being targeted to them as part of Twitters advertising efforts. This move is being applauded by privacy advocates and will put platforms like Facebook under pressure to do the same.
In case you missed it the changes include:
1. Honouring the do not track browser signal and if this is turned on they will not collect any browsing information in order to show targeted advertising.
2. Allowing users to adjust their privacy settings so they can completely opt out of targeted advertising from within the account settings of their Twitter accounts.
3. Conveniently link to each of the advertising firms that are managing their advertising to provide another option to opt out or receiving marketing messages.
While the move is very noble it would have come after careful analysis between the impact on advertising revenue and the positive consumer sentiment generated as a result of implementing these changes. Here is a few thngs I am sure they considered:
* The number of people who will adjust the privacy settings within their browser or within the Twitter account will probably be small. Recent numbers indicate that less than 10% of Firefox users have turned on “do not track” so you have to predict based on this that the number of users who will blocking advertising could be less than 5% of Twitter users.
* If you opt out at any of the advertiser’s websites it will load a third party cookie onto your computer and if you delete your cookies then you will need to opt out again. I doubt that many people will remember to go back to the website and opt out once they have cleared their cookies.
So while I believe Twitter has made this change with good intentions, the amount of positive PR that they have received as a result of being the first social platform to take such a stand has positioned Twitter as a serious brand in the privacy stakes. This move should pay them back in the future as both consumers and advertisers get more acquainted with native advertising in the coming years.