What to do with the personal data Twitter has about you

(NEXSTAR) – Many Twitter users – at least those who have not deactivated their accounts they have already raised privacy concerns ever since billionaire Elon Musk took over the platform.

Not sure what data you have given Twitter or what data it has inferred about you? Here’s what you need to know and what you can do about it.

The data that Twitter collects

According to Twitter, there are a number of details that he knows about you. Some of it you provided to create an account: your username, email, phone number, date of birth, and location. Twitter says there’s data they may have inferred about you “like gender and age range,” but you also have the option to configure this information.

If you have a work account, you may have provided other information, such as an address or other phone number or email.

Twitter may collect your login history, where you’ve logged in from, the apps you’ve connected to Twitter, the contacts you’ve imported, and your IP address. The platform, as well as its partners, have also inferred interest on your account or device which is then used to “enhance your Twitter experience.” This means providing recommended ads, notifications, and tweets that may be of most interest to you.

according to their Privacy Policy, Twitter collects information about how you interact with others on its platform, including the content, recipients, date and time of messages when you use Direct Messages. If you send an email to Twitter or interact with links in their emails or on their platform, Twitter collects information about the content included.

Twitter may also receive information about you from third parties, such as advertising and business partners or another service with which you connect your Twitter account.

Where to see the data that Twitter has about you

This will depend on where you are logged in.

On a desktop computer, start by clicking ‘More’ on the left side of your screen. Then select ‘Settings and privacy’. Under “Your Account,” click “Account Information.” You’ll need to re-enter your password, but then you’ll be able to see the data that Twitter has collected or inferred about you. If you don’t have an account, you can still see the data Twitter has about you by visiting twitter.com, clicking the “Settings” tab, and following the same steps.

On your mobile device, the process is relatively the same. Tap your photo in the top left corner, then “Settings & Support.” From the dropdown menu, select “Settings & Privacy,” then “Your Account.” You may see less information here than when you view it on a desktop.

To see your connected apps and where you’re signed in on both desktop and mobile, click “Account Access & Security” under the “Settings & Privacy” tab. You will be able to see ‘Applications and sessions’ and ‘Connected accounts’ associated with your Twitter account.

In the “Privacy and security” tab, you can review the interests you have chosen to follow and those that Twitter has inferred about you. In the “Interests” tab, you can uncheck the interests that don’t really interest you.

Twitter also allows you to download an archive of your data. On desktop and mobile, that option can be selected in the “Your Account” section. You will be asked to verify your account via a code sent to your email or text message. Once confirmed, you can request the file, which is delivered as a ZIP file. Twitter notes that it can take 24 hours or more for your data to be ready, and you’ll be notified with an in-app notification when it’s available.

What can you change?

Not comfortable with the amount of information Twitter has about you? There are some settings you can change, such as removing some of the inferred interest it has on you (see above).

You can prevent Twitter from sharing your data with advertisers by viewing ‘Settings’, then ‘Settings & Privacy’. There, select ‘Ads preferences’ under ‘Privacy and security’. You can turn off personalized ads, which means that Twitter will stop using data collected from your time on the platform and “other online activity and information” from its partners.

In the same section, you can go back to review and change your interests, and see how many advertiser audiences you’re a part of. Twitter notes that while you can opt out of interest-based ads, you will not be removed from advertisers’ audiences. However, you can request to see the list of advertisers you are a part of, which will be emailed to you when it is ready.

You can turn off data sharing with business partners (Twitter shares information with those partners “as a way to run and improve their products”) and personalization based on where you’ve been.

If you choose to deactivate your account, twitter says your account will be permanently deactivated after 30 days and “all information associated with your account will no longer be available in our production tools.” During that 30-day period, you still have the option to restore your account.

It’s still unclear what Musk will change, if anything, regarding the personal data Twitter collects from users. Debbie Reynolds, a technologist and global data privacy expert, said USA Today that Musk’s plan to charge users with blue checkmarks a monthly fee and add other features to the platform could increase the amount of personal information collected.

But, there is a possibility that it is not all bad. Reynolds points to Musk’s other company, Tesla, which is well known for its vision and strict practices regarding cybersecurity. Those same practices could be enacted on Twitter.

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