Twitter has announced its support for the US FTC’s Do Not Track initiative, which restricts how third parties collect and store data about browsing behavior.
Do Not Track (DNT) is heavily backed by Firefox browser non-profit developer the Mozilla Foundation, and also features in Internet Explorer and Safari. Google, whose business model is based around advertising, is perhaps a little more reluctant but offers DNT through an external plug-in to Chrome and says it will provide more direct access later this year. Web standards consortium the W3C is due to issue recommendations on the subject in October.
Twitter is still pushing ahead with its ‘tailored suggestions’ service which aims to personalise the user experience based on their Web surfing history, but said on Thursday it will not use the data for any other purpose. Othman Laraki, the microblogging giant’s Director, Growth and International, sums up: ‘As always, we are committed to providing you with simple and meaningful choices about the information we collect to improve your Twitter experience. For those who don't want to tailor Twitter, we offer ways to turn off this collection.’
There’s a sense of gathering momentum for the initiative - Twitter says it ‘applauds the FTC's leadership on DNT’ while Mozilla has praised Twitter's move in a blog post and notes that DNT adoption rates have risen steadily, to 8.6% of desktop users and a chunky 19% of mobile users.