How closely do you pay attention to the permissions your apps request? If you’re dealing with software from a developer you’re not familiar with, maybe you’ll give them a close look, making sure the app’s not overtly up to anything shady, but do you put apps from major companies under the same magnifying glass? Twitter’s in the news today because of some new behavior coming to its app on both Android and iOS, wherein it looks beyond its own borders to check out what other programs you have running on your phone. Why the heck is an app like Twitter doing something like that, and should you be concerned?
As Twitter explains it, the company’s gathering this “app graph” data in order to better build a profile of you as a user, and to leverage that information to tailor suggested accounts and promoted tweets to your interests. If you’ve got a lot of games installed, maybe you want to see more tweets about studios, reviews, and upcoming titles – that sort of thing.
While that’s far from the most nefarious purpose an app could have for why it’s spying on other apps, we’re sure that plenty of you aren’t loving the idea of giving Twitter this kind of access to your smartphone. In which case, you’re in luck, as there’s an easy way to opt out of the practice: just pull up the app’s settings, go into the account view, and toggle the “tailor Twitter based on my apps” control. Boom: disabled. We know, opt-in might have been nicer than opt-out, but it’s not like Twitter’s making this overly difficult – a few taps, and your apps remain your business.