The EFF’s staff technologist — also an engineer on Privacy Badger and HTTPS Everywhere, writes: Twitter greeted its users with a confusing notification this week. “The control you have over what information Twitter shares with its business partners has changed,” it said. The changes will “help Twitter continue operating as a free service,” it assured. But at what cost?
Twitter has changed what happens when users opt out of the “Allow additional information sharing with business partners” setting in the “Personalization and Data” part of its site. The changes affect two types of data sharing that Twitter does… Previously, anyone in the world could opt out of Twitter’s conversion tracking (type 1), and people in GDPR-compliant regions had to opt in. Now, people outside of Europe have lost that option. Instead, users in the U.S. and most of the rest of the world can only opt out of Twitter sharing data with Google and Facebook (type 2).
The article explains how last August Twitter discovered that its option for opting out of device-level targeting and conversion tracking “did not actually opt users out.” But after fixing that bug, “advertisers were unhappy. And Twitter announced a substantial hit to its revenue… Now, Twitter has removed the ability to opt out of conversion tracking altogether.”
While users in Europe are protected by GDPR, “users in the United States and everywhere else, who don’t have the protection of a comprehensive privacy law, are only protected by companies’ self-interest…” BoingBoing argues that Twitter “has just unilaterally obliterated all its users’ privacy choices, announcing the change with a dialog box whose only button is ‘OK.’