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Drystone Wall

Twitter, saying it doesn’t make it okay

Dear Twitter,

I read with interest about the most recent change to your terms and conditions, specifically on your What is app graph on Twitter? page:

To help build a more personal Twitter experience for you, we are collecting and occasionally updating the list of apps installed on your mobile device so we can deliver tailored content that you might be interested in.

Of course ‘tailored content’ means ads, and ‘App graph’ is a cute name for ‘we’re downloading a list of all the apps installed on your mobile device.’

Although you do allow users to disable this egregious data collection, and you also claim that you inform users before you start collecting their data, I would suggest that this information is none of your damned business. Your allowing users to turn off this data collection doesn’t somehow make it okay. Frankly, my reaction is more along the lines of, “what the hell are you thinking?!”

If I install your app, you’re certainly entitled to monitor my usage of the app as well as any other damned thing you please within the app you make available to me. You are not entitled to step outside the boundary of the app, and I’m amazed that you somehow think it’s perfectly acceptable that you do.

Hell no, Twitter. I’ve removed your apps from my mobile devices. That means I can only use Twitter from a browser, which is far more cumbersome. As a consequence, I’ll be using Twitter far less often. While this is unfortunate for you, your actions have consequences, and this is one of them.

Twitter is popular, but it seems you need a reminder that we don’t need Twitter, but Twitter is nothing without us. Treat users with respect unless you want to lose them. And Twitter? Helping yourself to a list of all the apps on my device is not respectful in any conceivable way.


The Twitter logo is a trademark of Twitter.

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2 Comments

  1. _Don

    Interesting. It was for roughly this same reason I dumped the Facebook chat app, and shortly thereafter, the Facebook app from my iDevices.

    I like Twitter, but they will be hard up to get useful app data from my phone, since I have near nothing extra on it these days to make room for music.

    • Rick

      I’m not sure how useful they’d find my app selection in tailoring ads to me, but it doesn’t really matter to me. They’re going too far, in my opinion, so I’m not going to co-operate. It’s just as well, because like the Facebook app I also no longer have installed, it’s a time sink. There’s better things on which I can spend my time.

      I know that old saw is true, about how when the product is free, you *are* the product. Despite the truth of this, there are limits to what I’m willing to accept to use their service.

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