Twitter has agreed to join the United States Federal Trade Commission's Do Not Track (DNT) privacy option, which gives users the option to prohibit third party websites to track their personal online behavior.
In 2010, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a staff report that suggested companies to give consumers the option of whether or not they want to permit third party websites to collect personal information about their Internet activity and then utilize it to deliver targeted advertisements. The privacy option is called Do Not Track (DNT)
Some Internet browsers, such as Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari, have already agreed to use DNT and give its users the option. These browsers simply emit codes to websites indicating them that the user does not want its data collected.
Twitter will now comply with the DNT option. Twitter made the announcement in a Tweet Thursday morning and has changed some of its user agreements and policy information. FTC applauded Twitter for joining the initiative.
“Twitter's use of 'Do Not Track' in its new feature is good news for Twitter users and a meaningful step toward broader adoption of a strong 'Do Not Track' system that will give consumers simple, comprehensive control over online tracking," said Jon Leibowitz, FTC Chairman. "Hopefully other companies will follow suit."
“The Federal Trade Commission's CTO, Ed Felten, just mentioned Twitter now supports Do Not Track. We applaud the FTC's leadership on DNT,” wrote Twitter.
Twitter has already updated its policy information and it informs users of the new privacy feature. The micro-blogging website noted that it respects DNT preferences “by turning off tailored suggestions by default.” DNT is already enabled it for new users and for users who joined Twitter before the introduction of DNT.
It provides its users step-by-step instructions to enable DNT on the user’s web browser. How do you do it?
- Click Window.
- Select Extensions.
- Search for “Do Not Track” from Jonathan Mayer.
- Click button “Add To Chrome” and click “Add” again when you are shown the disclaimer.
- Open preferences.
- Click privacy.
- Check the box “Tell websites I do not want to be tracked.”
- Open the Do Not Track test page.
- Scroll to the bottom to find the link to install.
- Click “Add List” when the dialog window pops up.
- Open preferences
- Click “Advanced.”
- Check “Show develop menu” in menu bar.
- Close preferences window
- Select “Send Do Not Track HTTP Header.”
Republican Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack, chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee with jurisdiction over the FTC and its privacy initiatives, posted a Tweet shortly after the announcement and called Twitter’s move the “responsible thing to do.”
Mozilla published a blog post, in which it said that it was excited that Twitter supports the privacy feature. It noted that adoption rates of DNT are up 8.6 percent for desktop users of Firefox and nine percent for Firefox Mobile users.
“Mozilla introduced the Do Not Track header last year to give users more control over online tracking by third parties. Since launching Do Not Track, we have seen increased industry support and user adoption of the feature,” wrote Alex Fowler, head of Mozilla’s privacy and public policy.
“Today, we are hosting a Do Not Track event at Internet Week New York and are happy to announce new adoption statistics and industry support. We’re excited that Twitter now supports Do Not Track and global user adoption rates continue to increase, which signifies a big step forward for Do Not Track and the Web.”
Google and Facebook still maintain a business model of collecting user data.