back to article Twitter 'leaves door open' for targeted ads

Earlier this year, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said there are "no people at Twitter who know anything about advertising." But apparently, they're hiring. The micro-blogging website has updated its terms of service to allow Twitter and its partners to target ads based on Tweets, searches, and other information users provide. The …

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Anonymous Coward

Ahah, here comes the rub...

A twit on their way home...

Hi, I'm on the bus [...National Express multi-saver ticket £10 special...] I'll be home about 5:45 [...Watch ITV News @ 6pm...] I'll pick up some milk [...Tesco's Milk 10p off today only, there's a shop 2 stops from here...]

You get the picture...

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Grenade

"Targeted" ads?

Dollars to doughnuts the ads will be "targeted" at as many users as possible, ie. sprayed all over as many twitter users as possible.

Nobody can direct-message you if you're not following that person, but I'm guessing we'll all end up with a few thousand spammers following each of us with links to ads for acai berries, penis enlargers, pyramid scams and colon cleansers in all of their tweets.

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Pirate

Hey great!!

A timely move indeed! I mean one thing we are really really short of is nicely targeted advertising that just hits the spot on what we really really want. It'll nicely plug that worrying gap between the google ads, the junk mail, the spam and the wanker who calls me sixty times a day trying to flog Hamster insurance because I once walked past a pet shop.

Fuck 'em all.

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Silver badge
Thumb Down

You twit

You pay

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Happy

It's easy to opt out of all direct marketing

The Information Commissioner's Office ruled last November that advertising targetted at an individual's logged in area of a website is direct marketing. This is because all online companies use computer code to identify and track their members from the moment they log in until they log out. As such, any online advertising is targetted at an identifyable indvidual.

All you need to do is ask Twitter to cease processing your personal data for direct marketing purposes and they have a legal obligation to do this within 28 days. That's all advertising - mail, e-mail, phone, text, online advertising. If they fail to comply you can seek a court injunction to make them comply. You can do this with any company but most of them will object because they're going to loose revenue. I asked Camelot the other week to remove the advertising banners from my account pages of the National Lottery website and at first they objected but after consulting with their legal team they agreed and they should be praised for doing so.

There is a standard form for doing this on the ICO's website. I am currently in the process of taking a well known bank to court because they refuse to comply.

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@Derichleau

Easier just to use Firefox + Adblock plus.

You'll save all the time and hassle of a court action, leaving you with plenty of time to tweet the world about what you're having for breakfast. They're desparate to find out, don't you know?

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But it's good sticking it to the man

Fair enough Dale, you have a valid point but it's all too easy to turn a blind eye. When you have large organisations abusing their customers data protection rights I believe something has to be done to make them stop. But it's also the arrogance of some of these companies that really annoys me and it makes me want to put the effort in.

The fact is, nearly every single company that I do business with contravenes or has contravened my data protection rights in some way. Tiscali my ISP have told me that they will not remove the banners on my account. Jobsite will not remove the banners on my account 'because it's a free service' - like that makes a difference? Amazon said that they were entitled to target me with advertising because I had accepted their terms and conditions. So Amazon believe that their civil contract can deny me my statutory rights. And many companies do that - put a clause in their T&Cs and then ask you to tick a box to accept them. But any term in a civil contract that attempts to deny an individual of their statutory rights is worthless. confused.com, comparethemarket.com and fasthosts.com all have worthless opt-ins to e-mail marketing in their T&Cs. They have failed to obtain your "Informed Consent" by doing so and as such they're breaking the law if they send you electronic marketing. I've submitted complaints to the ICO about all three. In fact, when I asked Fasthosts to cease processing my personal data for marketing purposes they told me that they were not able to do this. That's how bad some companies are when it comes to data protection.

The worst offenders of the lot though are the high-street banks because they believe that their code of practice entitles them to inform their customers about their products. They're so arrogant! They believe that their CoP, and it's just a code of practice - it's not legally binding, should take priority over my statutory rights. And when you try to explain to them they don't want to know.

And that's why I do it. These companies agree to process personal data in accordance with the relevant laws. But when you contact them to point out that they're doing something wrong, most of them do not want to know. I am currently in the process of taking one of the well known banks to court and then we'll see.

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Anonymous Coward

Big man!

I´m sure all that makes you feel most important Derichleau, but the fact is that no ads = no content.

You´ve seen the way that UK newspapers are heading up the Swanee thanks to the decline in the offline display ad industry. Do you want that to happen to your precious online content?

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Roll over and pucker up why don't you!

Ha, AC, the majority of the companies that contravene my data protection rights make their money in other ways. Amazon for example sell products at a profit so why should they make more money by contravening my data protection rights? Tiscali - I already pay them to provide a service so why should they make more money by contravening my data protection rights. And so on!

These companies have a legal obligation to ensure that they process personal data in accordance with data protection law and I would rather they went bust than abuse my data protection rights. And, as I pointed out yesterday, when I initially contact these companies I do so politely. I'm not trying to be a big man and just want them to process my personal data legally; it's their arrogance that causes me to escalate the issue. They're breaking the law for no other reason than to line their own pockets and apparently you're fine with that.

At the end of the day they're bullies; they take advantage of the little guy because they think that they so powerful nothing can touch them. You might roll over and pucker up to a bully but it's better to fight back.

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