Twitter tweaks, tips, and trust issues

AS the features, terms, and conditions of Twitter continue to go through changes, Sarah Lim lists the good and the bad that come along with them.

Graphic: Rosaura Ochoa via Flickr

According to their blog, Twitter, the popular social networking platform, has grown its active user base to more than a 140 million, altogether tweeting more than 340 million times daily. It’s been six years since the website was launched and the term ‘tweets’ was introduced. As expected, with growth comes change. Due to its increased popularity, the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service of the site have changed to accommodate larger amounts of data.

The notable changes are in the types of information Twitter collects from its users. The revised policy lists the different categories of information recorded by the website once you sign up for an account. They include tweets, location (when you choose to show where you tweeted from), links posted in tweets, and log data (your IP address, browser type, and operating system, among others).

The team behind the site states they’re collecting all this information to deliver services accordingly, and improve Twitter. Nonetheless, it’s important to consider the privacy and security of your account, what is being logged by the website, and who’s it sharing your data with. Fortunately, you can limit the type and amount of information collected by site. Just set your web browser privacy preference to ‘Do Not Track’ (DNT).

Twitter now also sends weekly email digests which deliver the most interesting, and relevant, stories and tweets shared by the people you’re connected to. This feature may be of assistance if you don’t often log onto Twitter to check what’s being posted. However, if you’re a frequent Tweeter, it may seem pointless to have a weekly digest sent to your inbox.

Another interesting feature that was introduced is the ‘Discover’ tab, which makes it easier to find information on subjects which are of interest to you. This tab is automatically ‘customised’ according how you use the website, and will display stories which are significant to you.

Twitter is now also available in 21 languages, allowing you to read and share status updates in a language you’re most comfortable with.

These definitely are features which increase the quality of the service, particularly the additional languages. The Discover tab is a great idea, but it’s likely to escape your attention if you focus primarily on tweeting your own updates rather than checking out posts or stories which appeal to you.

In short, Twitter, with its 140-character text-based posts, has some notable developments. But it remains to be seen if they’ll be well received.

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