At an Internet Week New York panel this morning titled “Opting in to Do Not Track: A morning mini-conference on privacy, tracking and more,” chief technology officer for the Federal Trade Commission Ed Felton announced that Twitter will be officially implementing a “Do Not Track” feature to allow users to block the social media site from collecting private data for advertising purposes.
In a collaboration with Mozilla, Twitter users can opt out of being tracked via their activities on the site when they access Twitter through a Firefox browser. As the law currently stands, websites had to agree with the browser before allowing users to make their own choices about whether or not they would like sites to track their information. Naturally, Twitter confirmed this via a tweet, congratulating the FTC on its “leadership on [Do Not Track],” and finally putting the power back in the users’ hands. Mozilla is one of the many Web browsers that support Do Not Track, along with its popular competitors Google Chrome and Internet Explorer 9. The function will also work for Firefox on Android.
While the support of Do Not Track from Twitter might make you want to push Facebook to do the same, we would advise you not to hold your breath. It’s no secret that Facebook monetizes largely in part of tracking user data and selling the information for advertising and marketing, so allowing users to opt out of the privacy setting can cause some detriments to its relationship with brands. Still, a first step from a major social media outlet is a good start, and hopefully we may see a trend following Twitter’s commitment to a more private online experience.
To learn more about the Do Not Track feature on Mozilla Firefox, visit the F.A.Q. to get your questions answered.