You know how sometimes a rumor that Facebook, Twitter or [insert your choice social network] is going to start charging you the use of their platform? Well, that is NEVER going to happen. No matter how dear you hold your digital feed and the freedom to post cat videos for all the world to see, and no matter how much you’d pay for this, that will never be as much as the social networks get for advertising, and – your data.
The Magical World Of Advertising, Targeting And Data
There’s two reasons for that. One is that there is more and more money being thrown into advertising, and advertisers have to keep pumping in more and more money to make their adverts stand out from the thousand others, and the best ways to do this is targeting.
That means displaying a commercial precisely to someone who actually might be interested in their product, and not to a bunch of random people who are unlikely to buy it. The advertisers can do this thanks to the massive amount of data about yourself that you generate the moment you connect to the Internet.
Which brings us to reason number two – that data of yours, the clicks and likes and views, are worth a truckload of money.
So, yeah, your social networks will remain free of charge – you’ve paid your due when you accepted the terms and conditions, stating that it’s ok to use your data and share it with advertising partners.
Twitter Tells Goodbye To Third-Party Resellers – Not Your Data
Share, sell, those are just different sides of the same coin. Up to quite recently, Twitter was partnered up with a number of third party companies that bought the so-called “firehose data” from the social network. That is just a colorful term for a gigantic stream of unfiltered Tweets and all related metadata that goes along with them that tell you about Twitter users once you structure them.
Earlier this month, however, Twitter announced that it will be terminating agreements with third parties for reselling firehose data — if you’re thinking “Great, my data are safe, thanx Twitter, you’re the best!”, stop.
Twitter did not decide to let your data be – just that it has the means to put together an analytical team that can analyze firehose data in-house. Their big data crunching team has formed around its acquisition of Gnip in 2014, and it will measure consumer sentiment, market trends and other very important yet hardly tangible things by tracking online conversations.
Zach Hofter-Shall, head of Twitter ecosystem, confirmed this in a blog post:
One of the reasons Twitter acquired Gnip was because Twitter believes the best way to support the distribution of Twitter data is to have direct data relationships with its data customers – the companies building analytic solutions using Twitter’s data and platform,” he wrote. “Direct relationships help Twitter develop a deeper understanding of customer needs, get direct feedback for the product roadmap, and work more closely with data customers to enable the best possible solutions for the brands that rely on Twitter data to make better decisions…The acquisition of Gnip was the first step toward developing more direct relationships with data customers.
So – Same Old, Same Old?
So what does this mean for you, a Twitter user? It means that nothing’s changed, really. Your data may metaphorically pass through less hands, but it’s still being gathered, analyzed and sold. Don’t judge Twitter – every step that you make on the internet is somehow traced, and I’m not talking about the NSA watching you – just all of your friendly social networks, platforms and services.