New Twitter Feature Supports 'Do Not Track' Policy
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
May 18 2012 04:08 PM ET
Twitter shows new users whom to follow based on Web history.
Twitter this week made two announcements that seem at odds with one another.
On the one hand, the company now officially supports "Do Not Track" policy, becoming the first major social media network to join the U.S. Federal Trade Commission-led (FTC) initiative. Twitter said it will not collect information about what sites you've visited if you have activated the "Do Not Track" option available in Firefox, Opera and Safari browsers. The FTC plans to require that the option become available to all Internet users by the end of the year.
On the other hand, Twitter said it's testing a new program based on Web history to offer personalized suggestions on whom to follow.
You can't have both. But you can decide which you want. And you can always change your mind.
Currently, Twitter offers the same following suggestions to all new users when they sign up for an account, based on popularity. The company said it's testing tailored suggestions in "a number of countries around the world." New users will see a list of recommended accounts to follow based on sites they've visited that are connected with Twitter. (See a "tweet" button on a webpage? Twitter knows you've been there, even if you don't press the button.) Likewise, Twitter will offer tailored "Who to Follow" suggestions for current users.
For some users, the new suggestions will prove useful; for others, they may seem creepy. To address opposing views, Twitter will allow all users to "opt-out" of the feature even before it's available. Go to your settings page on Twitter and scroll down to "Personalization," where you can uncheck the box to stop Twitter from using data from other websites you visit.