As with most platforms, I selected, on Twitter, that I didn’t want my advertising to be personalized. I don’t mind them making a buck, but I do mind them tracking my preferences, just as I did with Google and Facebook.
Google lied about its advertising preferences from 2009 to 2011 till yours truly busted them, and Facebook lies by continuing to compile preferences on you even after opting out, repopulating deleted preferences in some cases, and now, blocking you from making further edits to them. I was surprised that Twitter had a bunch of options I never saw beyond that old ad preferences’ one till I happened across them after clicking ‘Why did I see this ad?’ You can find this here.
Go a bit further to this link, and there they are, nearly 500 preferences linked to me, compiled even though I had opted out of personalization—making Twitter just as bad as Facebook.
What do I do? Exactly what I did on Facebook: I deselected each and every single one. Twitter doesn’t need this to market to me. Frankly it’s enough that it has my IP address and it can geo-target. It doesn’t need any more precision than that. I get to the bottom of the page, having done them all:
And just like Facebook, within hours it has reselected over 400 of them, repopulating preferences and overriding what the user wants.
In fact, some were being reselected within seconds, but I put that down to the fact I was using a cellphone. As of this writing, the second deselections have been done on the desktop.
This is simply not right, but we have been seeing signs in the latter part of the 2010s that Twitter is as bad as Facebook, with its love of bots, bigotry and its mass censorship. Now it’s as devoted to selling its users as the rest of Big Tech. The net result is I’ll begin limiting my time on Twitter because its privacy intrusion has gone too far. It cannot be trusted. It will probably become a work tool as Facebook has, where I do little of my own stuff, and only serve my clients; or I simply have automated content.
I suppose you can always say, ‘Well, at least it’s not as bad as …’ and on that note, I checked in to Facebook to see if I could post a question on why advertising preferences were not editable.
Eventually I found four others had managed, after wading through Facebook’s many layers of pages before getting to one where you could pose a question, to ask the same.
Except none of them are clickable to a question-and-answer page. They all take you to a Facebook Business advertising queries’ page.
Therefore, I asked the question even though it had already been asked. I doubt I’ll hear back, as I noticed that on the same visit, Facebook had censored two of my earlier responses.
Why? They reveal that Facebook’s platform is buggy, that I was unable to do some things on pages that it claimed I was able to do.
All I can say is that this is petty. Facebook: for the last 15 years your platform has been buggy. Everyone knows this. Covering up a couple of comments made in your own forums, comments that are truthful and actually helpful to others who encounter the same thing, doesn’t make your platform any less buggy. But this is the Zuckerberg way: all-too-precious, wimpy against criticism, with a self-belief that not publishing something will make it go away. I mean, it’s worked against equally wimpy governments. It is a page out of the Google playbook, too: its forums are full of cultist believers who ask, ‘How dare you question our god?’ when you post about bugs. However, it alienates users.
It’s probably why the old Getsatisfaction Facebook forum was closed down, because it revealed so many bugs about the system.
I’m hoping the 2020s will see some sort of mass rejection of these Big Tech social-tracking platforms, but I thought that would happen years ago. I was wrong. There are still good people on them but there are also good people on Mastodon and elsewhere.
PS.: Here we are, four hours later, after I unticked all the preferences. At least 300 of them have been reselected by Twitter. So it is like Facebook. Once again, we have to say to a US Big Tech firm: stop lying. Your claims about your settings are bogus.
P.PS.: Day two, still fighting Twitter, which reticked a lot (but not all) of the preferences. Still in the hundreds.
P.P.PS.: Day two, two hours later, 107 reticked:
P.P.P.PS.: Day four:
P.P.P.PS.: Day seven, still battling: