Own Your Twitter Privacy Settings

Privacy Settings Twitter

Using social media platforms like Twitter online is a lot like having no curtains on your windows at home. There are times you don’t mind having your windows open to the world, and other times you would prefer to keep things more private. Managing Twitter’s privacy settings allows you to control when the curtains are closed, keeping your information private. Twitter knows more about you than you might think. By taking just a few minutes to review your privacy settings, you can make your experience online more secure.

Twitter Privacy Concerns

Twitter Logo SmartphoneTwitter stock recently suffered a setback as investment bankers began shorting stock based on privacy concerns. According to a report on Investopedia, there are serious concerns that twitter users may revolt as Twitter’s use of private data comes to the light. Twitter sells not only targeted advertisements, it also sells user data to advertisers. This is a gold mine of information that will make Twitter a reported $400 million in 2018.

In 2017, Twitter ended its support for the “Do Not Track” feature. Twitter now has tracking code on many websites. These sites report back to Twitter when you visit them. This allows Twitter to monitor your activity on their platform. Additionally, they can monitor the sites you visit outside of Twitter. With these concerns in mind, it may be a good time to update your privacy settings.

Finding Twitter’s Privacy Settings

The first step to taking control of your privacy settings on Twitter, is to locate the settings you have access to. From whatever device you are using, go to “Settings” and select “Privacy and Safety”.

Twitter Privacy and Safety

Scroll down to “Personalization and Data” and choose “Edit”. You are now on the “Personalization and Data” page and can begin to change your Twitter Privacy Settings.

Twitter personalization and data

Edit Your Twitter Settings

Once you have made your way through the maze of settings there are several things you can change. Below you will find a list of settings we advise you to take a look at.

The Personalized Ads Setting

In most cases when an app is personalizing your experience, it means they are using your information to make the advertisements you see more relevant to you. In Twitter’s case, monitoring takes place through your Twitter activity. But they also know which device you are using and the locations you travel to. Additionally, Twitter monitors websites and apps you use that integrate with Twitter. In return they can provide your data to third-parties. Twitter selects these options by default, but you can change these settings to suit your preferences.

Twitter personalized ads setting

Leaving this box checked allows Twitter to monitor the tweets you read or respond to as well as tweets you send out. This setting also gives Twitter permission to combine your Twitter activity with other activity online. If you visit a company’s website on a device where you have logged into Twitter, they can then use that information. For instance, they can show you ads from websites or businesses that are similar. Twitter may also share that information with advertisers. This way they can show you more relevant advertising about that business even when you aren’t on Twitter.

If you prefer to not share this information with Twitter and its advertisers, simply uncheck the box next to Personalized ads.

Personalization Based on Your Device

Twitter-personalization based on device

This box gives Twitter permission to monitor which device you are accessing Twitter from and “improve your experience” accordingly. So, for example, if you tend to check news sites on your laptop as you are using Twitter and tend to check entertainment news on your phone, Twitter will show you more news related advertisements on your laptop experience and more entertainment related advertising while on your phone. Twitter does this by tracking the websites and apps you use that also use Twitter. even when you aren’t using Twitter.

Unchecking this box will stop this level of personalization for all your devices.

Location Based Personalization

Twitter personalizes your advertising experience based on several factors. For instance, they check where you signed up for Twitter, where you are currently located, and other places you have been. Leaving the “Personalize Based on Places You’ve Been” box checked give twitter permission to do this by monitoring your location. Twitter can monitor your location through a phone’s location services, through the Wi-Fi you are using, and even potentially through your Bluetooth connection.

Twitter will use your location information to show you ads related to businesses near your current location. You might even see ads for businesses along a route you often travel. For example, if every day on your way to and from your child’s school, you pass a bakery that advertises with Twitter, you may see an advertisement for that bakery pop up the next time you log in.

Twitter personalization based on places youve been

If you prefer not to share your location with Twitter and its advertisers, uncheck this box to turn off Twitter’s location monitoring.

Data Monitoring in Twitter

Twitter also provides two options you can unselect to change how Twitter monitors and shares your information. One is “Track Where You See Twitter Content Across the Web”. This setting tracks your activity in websites and stores your web history to suggest to you other websites and Twitter accounts you may want to follow.

Twitter data track

The second box, “Share Your Data with Twitter’s Business Partners”, gives Twitter permission to share private details about you not included on your Twitter profile. This includes content you’ve looked at and your interests based on Twitter’s profile of you.

Twitter disable allUncheck these boxes to stop Twitter from monitoring and sharing your information. Additionally, if you prefer Twitter not use any of these personalization and data settings, you can select “Disable All” at the top of the list to uncheck each of them. Ofcourse, you will not have the benefit of relevant advertising. However, you may feel more secure in knowing your privacy is protected.

Other Important Privacy Options

Head back to the “Privacy and Safety” screen to find a few other privacy settings you may want to consider changing. By default, Twitter includes location information in your Tweets. If you don’t want this information published, uncheck the “Tweet with a Location” box. To delete the location information already associated with your tweets, click the “Delete Location Information”button.

Ordinarily, your tweets are public to anyone who wants to view them. By checking the box next to “Protect Your Tweets”, only those you approve will be able to access your tweets.

Change the settings in “Photo Tagging” to prevent just anyone from being able to tag you in a photo. You can choose to only allow followers to tag you, to allow anyone to tag you, or to prevent anyone from tagging you in a photo.

Of course, Twitter updates its privacy policy from time to time. Thus, it is a good idea to recheck these settings periodically to ensure you are only sharing the information you prefer.

You Control Your Privacy Online

Your privacy online is important. While you may be comfortable sharing some information, you do not have to make all your information available to advertisers and other businesses. Be sure to check out our other articles on safeguarding your privacy settings on Instagram, WhatsApp, and Google.

To further enhance your privacy online, consider connecting through a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A quality VPN can help anonymize your information online, protecting you from companies that track your information online. VPNs also provide a host of benefits including accessing content restricted to certain geographic locations. Moreover, with a VPN you can avoid firewalls at work or other restricted locations.

Tech journalist
Tove has been working for VPNoverview since 2017 as a journalist covering cybersecurity and privacy developments. Since 2019 she is VPNoverview.com's cybersecurity news coordinator.