How to find out what Twitter knows about you

Posted on April 6, 2018

 

News like the Cambridge Analytica revelations has, perhaps not before time, made people a lot more concerned about what social media sites know about them, and how this data is being used.

It was 18 months ago now that we showed you how you can download your Facebook data in one comprehensive yet relatively easy to understand report. Today, let’s look at how you can do the same with Twitter.

To start with, you need to be logged into your Twitter account, and it’s best to do it on a desktop device. Once you’ve done this, follow these steps:

1. Click your picture in the top-right of the screen
2. Choose ‘Settings and privacy’
3. From the menu on the left, go to ‘Your Twitter data’

This will present a wide range of Twitter data about you, some of which you will have given to the site yourself, and others it will have guessed at. In my case, Twitter has correctly worked out that I’m male and that my language is English. It has also put be in the correct age group, although at 13-54, it’s giving itself quite a wide margin for error.

Furthermore, it tells you the exact minute on which you set up your account. I was quite late to the party really at April 11th, 2013, with 12:29 PM being the exact time I entered the Twitterverse.

After that, things get a bit more nitty-gritty. Twitter knows how many browsers and devices you’ve logged in from, and some of the places you’ve been (in my case, only London and Birkenhead, which I don’t know whether is reassuring or depressing!). You can then go on to look at some of the ‘Interests’ Twitter thinks you have. I have 65 in total, ranging from poker to car culture (both pretty inaccurate I would say), and some of them are oddly specific, such as Swansea City and former Chester FC striker Oliver McBurnie. I follow his account but I’m surprised he’s classed as an ‘interest’ in his own right.

If you’re still not satisfied that you know everything Twitter knows about you, keep scrolling and you have a chance to request your advertiser list. This means you’ll be emailed a document showing you which advertisers have you in a tailored audience. Mine include names like McDonalds, Xbox, Microsoft, Airbnb and plenty of others I don’t recognise, as well as some oddities like Twitter Israel, for some reason. You can also see a much longer list of ‘similar audiences’ advertisers have you in. For me, it includes just about every car manufacturer, which is a bit weird given that I don’t drive.

Want to delve even deeper? At the very bottom of the ‘Your Twitter data’ page, you can click to ‘Request your data’. Be warned, this could take a while to come through to your inbox – in fact, I requested it when I started writing this article. I’ve now finished, and I haven’t received it yet!

John Murray

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.

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