Your Old Tweets Are Now Mined By Advertisers. That’s Because Twitter Sold Them.

datasiftTwitter has sold all your old tweets to Datasift, a UK based data mining company for market research, according to a report from Dailymail. That’s right, anything you’ve posted on your Twitter account is now also stored on Datasift’s servers and will be mined by advertisers and data research companies. Datasift has already launched a platform which allows advertisers to search trends in Tweets ranging back to January 2010. Unless you maintain a private Twitter timeline, all your old tweets will be sold which also includes location data, date, time and GPS information.

Any guesses on who founded Datasift? None other than Tweetmeme founder Nick Halstead, who confirmed the historical data partnership with Twitter through a blog post.

Here is a brief video which briefly explains Datasift’s working model:

Here are some official words from Datasift:

DataSift Historics enables companies to tap into historical Twitter data to filter and extract insights and trends that relate to brands, businesses, customers, financial markets, news and public opinion.

To create insights from Social Data, we enrich every Tweet with details including sentiment, topics, web-links, location and social media influence – giving companies an unprecedented capability to filter Social Data, extract meaning and create insights.

Before you label this as an “unethical act”, read Twitter’s  TOS which clearly states that:

You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).

At the end of the day, a tweet is nothing but publicly accessible information posted by the user. Precisely, YOU. Your tweets can be read by anyone, including third party services or apps. I agree that you own the rights to any content you post but you are not the sole owner of your Tweet. Twitter is. Unless of course you keep deleting old tweets every other day.

Twitter has to make money in some way or the other, if you think you are going to enjoy this ride on a free ticket until eternity, you’re day dreaming. Sponsored tweets? Advertisements? Nah, Twitter won’t be as aggressive with ads as Facebook is. They care about their users, right? Right.

I agree with Graham on his quote

Did you think Twitter was just for fun? That your tweets were just harmless irrelevant mutterings into the electronic ether? You’re wrong. You’re taking part in a massive market-research study.

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Amit Banerjee

Amit has been writing for Techie Buzz since early 2009 and keeps a close eye on web apps, Google and all things Tech. He also writes at his own tech blog, Ampercent. Follow him on Twitter @ amit_banerjee