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Twitter to collect data about users’ installed apps

In a move that’s likely to make some feel uneasy, Twitter has announced through its Help Center that it will start collecting data on mobile users’ installed apps.

It isn’t the first time a major social network has done this, but it can create quite a stir when it’s either Facebook or Twitter. The system is called App Graph, and it regularly updates to keep track of which apps are popular across multiple platforms. The distinction should be made clear that, although they now collect data about which apps are installed on users’ mobile devices, they do not collect data about what’s happening within those apps.

The reasons why data is being collected in this way are explained:

“Twitter is using your app graph to help build a more tailored experience for you on Twitter. Some examples of how we may use your graph data include:

  • Improved “who to follow” suggestions that share similar interests.

  • Adding Tweets, accounts, or other content to your timeline that we think you’ll find especially interesting.

  • Showing you more relevant promoted content.”

The transparency on the matter is admirable and users are being shown what steps they need to take to opt-out of the system, should they not want to share this data.

The instructions for iOS:

  1. From the Me tab, tap the gear icon
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap the account you’d like to adjust.
  4. Under Privacy, you can adjust the setting to Tailor Twitter based on my apps.

If you had previously turned on Apple’s ‘Limit Ad Tracking’ (Settings > Privacy > Advertising), then Twitter can’t know what apps are on your device.