Twitter will soon start collecting more information from your smartphone through “App Graph.” The company launched an update that will come with the power to read what apps you have installed on your device. However, even if the new update will automatically start collecting your app list, you can easily opt-out if releasing information about your digital behavior is not among your favorite activities. App Graph will first be rolled-out on iOS, with an Android version probably coming up in the next week.
Those who already opted-out of interest-based apps by enabling “Limit Ad Tracking” (iOS) or “Opt out of interest-based ads,” (Android), will not have their phones peeked at by Twitter, unless they decide to join the program. Twitter assures users that only the list of apps will be accessed. Information from within the apps will not be collected, the company states on a blog post. Opting-out will mean that any data previously collected will be deleted from Twitter’s servers as well.
The change will not take place unannounced. Until you get a message from Twitter saying that “that to help tailor your experience, Twitter uses the apps on your device,” the app will not collect any additional information.
Twitter lags behind Facebook in what regards advertising revenues. Unlike Facebook, Twitter does not have access to detailed information about its users. So Twitter does not make it a secret, the list of apps will help the company make more money out of advertising. Bear in mind that compared to what type of data Facebook collects from users’ devices, the list of apps collected by Twitter is not the most personalized data users could share.
Moreover, the new system could actually help you have a better Twitter experience. With the new information in hand, Twitter could make better recommendations of new people to follow. Until now, the algorithm is based on people from a user’s network. With the extra information, Twitter could offer new users who just sign up something else besides an empty wall, which can be quite discouraging.
The news is just a reminder that companies thrive on the back of your personal data. Third party apps can access some activities and information stored on smartphones because Android and iOS are designed to allow this type of collection. Data from within apps, however, is not as open to other developers.