| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO May 17 Twitter will honor
requests from users who do not want their online behavior
tracked, the company said on Thursday, in contrast with Web
companies such Google Inc and Facebook Inc whose
business models rely heavily on collecting user data.
Twitter said it will officially support "Do Not Track," a
standardized privacy initiative that has been heavily promoted
by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, online privacy advocates
and Mozilla, the non-profit developer of the Firefox Web
Some browsers, including Firefox, Microsoft Corp's
Internet Explorer and Apple Inc's Safari, include a "Do
Not Track" option that sends a line of code to websites
indicating the user does not want to be tracked. But under
current regulations, it is up to the website to honor the
Google has said it will implement a "Do Not Track" feature
in its Chrome browser later this year.
The "Do Not Track" announcement also coincides with
Twitter's recent push to provide a more personalized service.
Twitter recommends "tailored suggestions" based on a user's Web
surfing history, but does not use the data for any other
purpose, the company said on Thursday.
"As always, we are committed to providing you with simple
and meaningful choices about the information we collect to
improve your Twitter experience," Twitter's Director, Growth and
International, Othman Laraki, said in a blog post on Thursday.
"For those who don't want to tailor Twitter, we offer ways to
turn off this collection."
Twitter's support for the initiative was first announced on
Thursday by Ed Felten, the FTC's Chief Technology Officer,
during a panel in New York. The microblogging site later
confirmed Felten's statement, adding in a Tweet: "We applaud the
FTC's leadership on DNT."
Mozilla praised Twitter's move in a blog post and noted that
adoption rates for "Do Not Track" have risen steadily, to 8.6
percent of desktop users and 19 percent of mobile users.
"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," Mozilla said.
Twitter's decision to get onboard with "Do Not Track"
represents something of a balancing act for the six-year-old
company, which has been closely scrutinized on how it can
generate enough revenue to justify its multibillion-dollar
Online tracking through bits of code embedded in websites
known as "cookies" underpins the business models for many
Facebook, due to go public on Friday in the largest-ever
U.S. IPO, has been valued at $104 billion, partially by
investors who believe it can offer advertisers a platform for
highly targeted ads based on perceived user interests. Google
similarly generates billions annually by targeting ads based on
what a user is searching for.
Major online destinations that have endorsed "Do Not Track"
include Yahoo, which said in March it would allow consumers "to
express their ad targeting preferences to Yahoo" beginning this