Twitter just announced it will begin blocking third-party data providers from their platform and will require advertisers to provide their own consumer data for ad targeting, according to Garett Sloane writing in AdAge.
“On Wednesday, Twitter said it would stop integrating with third-party data providers, like Acxiom, Oracle Data Cloud, Epsilon and others, which have vast reserves of consumer data broken down into target audiences for advertisers. The targets identify people based on age, gender, income, family status and other characteristics,” Sloane writes.
“Twitter now joins Facebook in creating some distance with these types of data-hoarding companies, which have been under more scrutiny as lawmakers and regulators focus on privacy concerns surrounding the digital ad ecosystem,” he continues.
It’s a smart move, especially given how the Cambridge Analytics data scandal blew up in Facebook’s face last year. Consumers have had it, and are demanding the platforms they use to take better care of them. It’s not just Facebook on the spot, either. Earlier this month Twitter disclosed they had improperly handled user data and shown users “ads based on inferences we made about the devices you use, even if you did not give us permission to do so.”
But will it really help, or is it just cosmetic?
According to Alexandra Bruell in The Wall Street Journal, Twitter execs say this move isn’t related to consumer protection at all but rather aims to simplify the advertising process.
“The new policy is unrelated to the rising concerns about data protection and privacy online, said Sarah Personette, vice president of global client solutions at Twitter,” Bruell writes. “Instead it is meant to simplify buying for advertisers and let Twitter concentrate on other priorities, such as new products and technology, she said.”
“We want to make sure we’re creating and developing the best possible experience for every advertiser, agency and marketer utilizing the system,” Ms. Personette is quoted as saying.
Confused? It’s understandable. Maybe the good news is that platforms are listening to consumers and their demands for better data policies. Or, maybe they are simply protecting themselves from the massive fines and new legislation designed to slap them into compliance while maintaining the lucrative ad dollar stream. Either way, it’s important not to be lulled into a false sense of security online.