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Twitter looks at installed apps to target ads on iOS and Android

In a move that’s sure to comfort privacy activists, Twitter is going to snoop around the apps on your mobile phone in part of its quest for monetisation.

The social network will look at the apps which you have downloaded onto your device, and use this information to work out more about your preferences in order to better target adverts (and charge more money for those better pitched ads, of course).

The “feature”, which was spotted by Re/code, is called App Graph, and Twitter notes: “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.”

The good news is that this isn’t a mandatory thing, although as ever, rather than choosing to opt in to the scheme, you have to opt out (in other words, by default, your Twitter experience will have App Graph).

You can turn the thing off under settings, with full instructions on how to do so on Android and iOS on this support page. Also, to be fair to the social network, it will automatically have the App Graph turned off if you’ve previously chosen to limit ad tracking/interest-based ads in your settings, which is at least something of a concession to it not being the absolute default setting.

This update has gone live on iOS now, but won’t be on Android until next week most likely.

Twitter says that it only sniffs out the names of the apps you have installed, and that it won’t be hoovering up any data associated with the software. As well as targeting ads, the information will be used to improve the social network’s suggestions of people to follow who you might be interested in – and it’ll also ferry over tweets that might interest you for your timeline. So there is some benefit outside of Twitter’s monetisation…

If you don’t like it – and doubtless that won’t be a small club of tweeters – then head over to your app settings now and turn it off using the linked documentation above (on iOS, that is; it's not live for Android yet).