Twitter has never expressly ruled out the possibility of introducing ads to its site — and the microblogging site has now officially made it an option. The company’s new terms of service allow Twitter and its partners to target ads based on Tweets, queries users make on the site, or other information they provide. The company says it’s “leaving the door open for exploration in this area” but doesn’t “have anything to announce.”
And, indeed, co-founder Biz Stone has said publicly that he is in no rush to add ads. (Instead, the company seems intent on first trying to get money by charging for premium accounts, which will include detailed analytics and ID verification). In May, Stone told Reuters that advertising was “just not quite as interesting to us” and said that ads could annoy users. He backtracked a day later, though, saying the site was not “philosophically opposed to any and all advertising.”
There are other signs in the new terms of service that Twitter is growing up. The new terms formally authorize Twitter to make Tweets available via its APIs — and users are prohibited from “sending a virus, overloading, flooding, spamming, (and) mail-bombing” Twitter. The latter has been a source of recent high-profile down times at the site.