No free service is truly free. If the service doesn’t charge you for access, it sells your data to recover the cost of servers, employees, and hopefully a bottom line. In this spirit, Twitter alerts users it will start sharing more data about your ad display habits with its advertisers.
Online advertising is always a tricky business. You only want to continue paying for ads if you know they work. How you measure it varies, but it can be views, clicks, or even increased sales. Twitter has to sell ads to survive, and part of that process means showing if people have interacted with the ads.
The notification we saw on our personal accounts.
Until recently, you could turn off this mobile data sharing practice. By unsubscribing, Twitter could not use your data to prove that people have interacted with advertisements that you have seen or clicked. Now Twitter has changed the setting that controlled this behavior.
If you are in the United States, you can no longer opt out of “mobile app advertising metrics”. Instead, the setting will continue to allow you to turn off other data sharing options, such as your interests and web tracking. Twitter does not share your name, email address, or phone number, regardless of your settings.
European users will not see any change, however. Thanks to the GDPR, they must register to share data (as opposed to the opt-out in the United States), and this continues to be the case.
However, the data that Twitter will share is relatively limited. It focuses on how you interacted with an ad, if any. This data can help the service charge more for displaying ads, which will allow the business to continue (and possibly even help it reach profitability). It’s mostly a small price to pay to keep Twitter alive. After all, the only thing worse than Twitter is broken Twitter.