Twitter can track your online activity even after you delete its app from your phone and log out across all browsers, thanks to a setting that can only be disabled by accessing a particular page on Twitter’s website.
Even if you’ve logged out of Twitter and have uninstalled the app from your phone, chances are the platform is still tracking your device, unless you access Twitter’s website, go to “Personalization and Data Settings,” and disable the data collection.
Breitbart News verified the story by testing Twitter’s data collection on an Apple iPhone, following a tip from banned conservative Twitter users @TheALX.
Even when Twitter’s app was deleted from the iPhone, and no Twitter account was logged in, navigating to Twitter’s “Personalization and Data Settings” page via a browser revealed that data collection on the device was still enabled.
According to Twitter’s personalization page, all it takes is one login on a device to activate data collection across all devices until users discover the setting and switch it off. As the page explains, unless you switch off the setting, “Twitter will always personalize across the devices you’ve used to login.”
Not only that — it goes on to explain that “Twitter may also link your Twitter account to other devices — ones you’ve never used to log on to Twitter — to help measure and improve your experience” (emphasis ours).
In other words, even if you’ve never logged on to Twitter on a particular device, chances are the company is still collecting data from that device, although the page doesn’t explain how it links a person’s account to a device they may never have used Twitter on.
Responding to Breitbart News’ request for comment, Twitter confirmed that it collects data on you even if you don’t have a Twitter account.
Via a Twitter spokeswoman:
Data is only collected from people without Twitter accounts if and where there has been interaction with third-party sites that have Twitter content active on them (i.e., embedded Tweets, widgets, cookies, etc.). Individuals are provided with logged out privacy tools (per your screenshot) to help them determine which information is shared or not shared.
In other words, as long as you’ve browsed websites that have embedded Tweets, Twitter cookies, or Twitter’s sharing widget, Twitter has your browsing data from that site. Considering that the vast majority of the top 50 U.S. websites (including pornography, payment processing, and banking websites) have some form of Twitter integration, this means that Twitter likely has a detailed profile one you even if you’ve never signed up for an account or used its platform.
These personalization settings are inaccessible via Twitter’s mobile app. To switch off data collection, you will still have to navigate to Twitter’s website via a browser and find the specific page before they can disable the data collection.
In effect, this means that most users will be subject to Twitter’s data collection. From retirement plans or organ donation, when individuals are automatically opted-in to something, they very rarely opt out.