Twitter has plans to keep tabs on the other apps that are installed on your phone

BY Evan Selleck

Published 26 Nov 2014

image Twitter logo

Twitter is one of the largest social networking entities on the internet, and apparently the company wants to know which apps you’re using on your devices.

To learn the apps that its users are using, Twitter is going to start shopping on them right on your device, according to a new blog post the company recently published. The announcement details how, from this point on, Twitter will use its mobile applications to essentially snoop other apps on a device. This data will apparently allow Twitter to better provide “tailored content,” within your stream:

To help build a more personal Twitter experience for you, we are collecting and occasionally updating the list of apps installed on your mobile device so we can deliver tailored content that you might be interested in. If you’re not interested in a tailored experience you can adjust your preferences at any time (read below). Additionally, if you have previously opted out of interest-based ads by turning on “Limit Ad Tracking” on your iOS device or by adjusting your Android device settings to “Opt out of interest-based ads,” we will not collect your apps unless you adjust your device settings.

According to a report published by Re/code following the announcement, Twitter’s tentacles into other apps is only at surface level. Meaning, while this data collection will be able to showcase to Twitter that a user has, say, Rdio installed on their device, the company will not be able to learn what songs the user listens to. So, Twitter will be able to learn the names of apps on a specific device, but not, exactly, what that app is being used for.

This new tactic is opt-out. What that means is that Twitter is going to begin collecting this information from users’ devices automatically. If a user does not want this data collected, they will have to go out of their way to opt-out.

That does not mean, however, that developers can gather data from within those apps, such as how often a person uses them, or what information a person has shared. Developers can only collect the app name. Twitter, for example, may know a user has Spotify, but it can’t know which songs the person is listening to.

The update to the Android app is set to arrive in the coming weeks.

[via Re/code; Twitter]