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Twitter to Start Targeting Ads in U.S. Soon

by Todd Haselton | July 3, 2013July 3, 2013 7:00 pm PDT

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Twitter said Wednesday that it will soon try to promote brands by targeting them to consumers who have “shown an interest in them.” Google, Apple, Facebook and others have long used this strategy of targeted advertising and under the guise that consumers will only be presented with ads for brands they care about. It’s also better for brands, so that their ads aren’t wasted on random consumers.

Twitter explains it best: “Let’s say a local florist wants to advertise a Valentine’s Day special on Twitter,” the social network said. “They’d prefer to show their ad to flower enthusiasts who frequent their website or subscribe to their newsletter.”

Twitter says companies interested in the deal can send over a hashed email address or a browser cookie ID, which Twitter can then match up with its users in order to promote specific tweets to interested parties. The social network promises that it won’t hand over any private information to its partners and that “this is how other companies handle this practice.”

You can avoid being targeted by heading to your account settings and unchecking the “promoted content” option. Doing so will prevent Twitter from matching your hashed information with that of its partners. You’ll only be able to deactivate this directly through Twitter, however.


Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...