Twitter wants to improve the reach of targeted ads by grabbing more data from users / Getty

The micro-blogging site has never been profitable, and is working on changing that this year

Twitter has updated its privacy policy and announced plans to collect more data about its users, and keep hold of that data for longer.

However, it’s also introduced new tools to let you see what the site and its partners think they know about you and your interests. It’s a source of both concern and amusement.

The micro-blogging site has never been profitable, and is working on changing that this year.

One of its primary objectives is to improve the reach of targeted ads by grabbing more data.

Twitter will track your activities outside its app and website, and store that data for up to 30 days. Before the privacy policy update, it was ten days.  

The company will be able to collect that data from any third-party website that uses its API, for instance those that feature things like a Twitter share button or embedded tweets.

“This will allow us to further improve and personalize our services, connecting you with the stories, brands and organic content you care about most,” the company says.

However, Twitter says it will not store webpage visit data for users in the European Union and European Free Trade Association States. 

What’s really interesting is the site’s new Your Twitter Data section.

It shows you all of the “interests” Twitter thinks you have, based on your activities. In my case, it’s pretty accurate, with the 59 listed interests made up of a mix of technology- and football-themed subject matter. 

What’s more intriguing is the Interests From Partners section immediately below it. There are zero entries in my list, but other users have reported seeing lots of baffling and even embarrassing topics in there.

It also shows me that I’m “part of 3,559 audiences” from 1,293 advertisers (a list I have requested).

You can find Your Twitter Data by opening the Settings menu, selecting Personalisation and Data, and scrolling down to the bottom of the page.

Fortunately, Twitter is also allowing users to opt out of targeted ads. 

All you need to do is navigate to Personalisation and Data in Settings and switch off all of the types of data you don't wish to share.

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