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Twitter wants to know your age, for birthday wishes – and advertisers

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(Read caption) A screen capture showing Twitter's new birthday option.

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Twitter is asking your age — and not just because it wants to send you animated birthday balloons.

The tech company is getting more serious about promoting advertisements by improving the biographical data it provides to brands. Having information like a tweeter's age could create more targeted and effective advertisements. In exchange for users sharing their ages, twitter is offering the balloons as a gimmick.

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When Twitter launched in March 2006,  the only data it required users to submit upon opening an account was name, username, and an email or phone number. But now this sparce data landscape is making it difficult for the brands to find their target audience.

As a result, Twitter last week introduced a new “audience insights” feature that allows companies to choose groups of users to target with their ads. Millennials, seniors, and college grads were included among the categories. 

The company is trying to play catch-up with other social media platforms that have successfully levereged their advertising power by collecting user data, according to Tech Crunch.

“Way back in 2010, Facebook made one of its smartest moves ever by pushing people’s biographical information to the top of their profile where everyone would see it,” Tech Crunch reported.   

“This strongly encouraged users to fill theirs in, keep it current, and remind friends if their data was missing or out of date. That fueled the rapid ascent of its ad targeting engine and its ongoing financial success.”

Now the idea is that once users begin adding their birthday data to Twitter, advertisers will be able to access this information even if the user’s privacy settings render it invisible to everyone else.

But if the idea of advertisers knowing your age makes you a bit squeemish, the good news is it’s not mandatory. So as Tech News Today pointed out: “If you wish to not update your birthday, it is perfectly fine.”


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