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Summary:

Twitter is going to start serving ads based on your internet surfing habits — but unlike other companies, it’s offering you privacy settings that let you opt out of the system.

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photo: GigaOM

Here come the targeted tweets: Twitter is officially joining Facebook, Google and others who use so-called “retargeting” to select the ads you see when you’re on the site. For instance, you may spend the evening surfing the internet for a dream vacation to Kansas: the next day – voila – up pops up a “visit Topeka deal” in your Twitter feed.

Advertisers like these type of ads because they think they are more effective. Privacy groups and some consumers, on the other hand, find them creepy. But the ad industry counters that there’s nothing to worry about, because the data is all anonymous.

But unlike other companies, Twitter is letting users opt-out of the targeting system. From the announcement:

Simply uncheck the box next to “Promoted content” in your account settings, and Twitter will not match your account to information shared by our ad partners for tailoring ads.

For Twitter, the new ad offering is the latest step in a series of moves to turn itself into a serious money machine ahead of a rumored IPO later this year. In May, for instance, the company introduced “Twitter Amplify” which lets TV companies to offer paired ads across multiple screens — for instance, you’ll see an ad for the same brand in your Twitter feed as you do during the NFL game.

  1. There are ads on Twitter? Using Tweet Deck, I don’t think I’m seeing them, unless the ads are tweets themselves.

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    1. I unchecked the box yesterday and I’m still getting ads. Does anyone know how long it takes for the ads to stop popping up? I’ve checked my setting and it remain unchecked, yet the ads continue.

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