Twitter Offers Tailored Suggestions and a Timeline with Tweets; Pledges Suppport to Support Do Not Track (DNT)

Twitter pledges support to 'Do Not Track' feature in the Mozilla Firefox browser, as announced Thursday by Ed Felten, chief technology officer for the Federal Trade Commission at a New York Internet Week privacy panel. Carolyn Penner, a spokeswoman for Twitter, confirming FTC's announcement, said in a tweet, "We applaud the FTC's leadership on Do […]

Twitter pledges support to 'Do Not Track' feature in the Mozilla Firefox browser, as announced Thursday by Ed Felten, chief technology officer for the Federal Trade Commission at a New York Internet Week privacy panel.

Carolyn Penner, a spokeswoman for Twitter, confirming FTC's announcement, said in a tweet, "We applaud the FTC's leadership on Do Not Track, and are excited to provide the benefits of Do Not Track."

Mozilla's Do Not Track feature allows users to opt out of web cookies that collect personal information, as well as cookies that are used for advertising. Do Not Track only works on websites that specifically implement it.

Facebook, which can be viewed as a competitor to Twitter in the social networking space, does not allow users to opt out of its data collection, though Facebook has opened up a bit by allowing users to see the kind of information being collected. Facebook even tracks people who are not logged into Facebook.

According to new data shared by Mozilla, the Do Not Track adoption rates are 8.6% of Firefox desktop users and 19% of mobile users. The biggest adoption rates so far are in The Netherlands, France and the United States.

Microsoft and Apple are already on board and IE9, it is worth noting, already offers a somewhat more aggressive "tracking protection" tool. Google, also plans to support Do Not Track later this year and Opera is building DNT in its upcoming Opera 12 release.

However, Facebook, doesn't allow users to opt out of its data collection, though Facebook has opened up a bit by allowing users to see the kind of information being collected. Facebook even tracks people who are not logged into Facebook.

Also, the microblogging company announced that they're beginning some experiments with "tailored suggestions" in a number of countries around the world to make it easier and faster for everyone to get started on Twitter.

"The first experiment will show new users a list of accounts that we recommend you follow, alongside a timeline filled with Tweets from those accounts. If you're part of the experiment, you'll see a Twitter experience that's relevant to you right when you sign up," posted Othman Laraki, Director, Growth and International.

New users may see a list of tailored suggestions (left) and a timeline with Tweets from those accounts (right) as they sign up for an account.

Twitter tailored suggestions and a timeline with tweets

Current user, may see tailored suggestions in "Who to follow" so you can constantly find interesting and relevant accounts that are new to you. Of course, you can always choose to not follow the suggested accounts that don't interest you.

Twitter tailored suggestions in Who to Follow

"These tailored suggestions are based on accounts followed by other Twitter users and visits to websites in the Twitter ecosystem. We receive visit information when sites have integrated Twitter buttons or widgets, similar to what many other web companies -- including LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube -- do when they're integrated into websites. By recognizing which accounts are frequently followed by people who visit popular sites, we can recommend those accounts to others who have visited those sites within the last ten days," explains Laraki.

Additionally, new users will see an option to "Tailor Twitter based on my recent website visits" along with a link to "Learn more" when they create an account on Twitter.com.

Current users will see a new "Personalization" section in account settings, with the same option to tailor Twitter.

"Of course, you can disable these options at any time, which'll stop the collection of information for the feature and remove any tailored suggestions we have for you. You can even choose to turn off tailored suggestions from the preview page (which shows some suggestions we'd make for you)," Laraki adds.

"For those who don't want to tailor Twitter, we offer ways to turn off this collection. If you have DNT enabled in your browser settings, we will not collect the information that enables this feature, so you won't see any tailored suggestions," Laraki concludes.