I saw this as a retweet the other day:

Following the link turned into a bit of a rabbit hole.

“These are some of the interests matched to you based on your profile and activity. You can adjust them if something doesn’t look right.” is what it says at the top of the page, before listing over one hundred (I didn’t actually count, but there’s lots) of things I have pretty much zero interest in.

Much unticking ensued. “Behaviours around fashion” – what is that? And have you seen my dress sense? And who the chuff is “Hakim Ziyech”??

They know, you know

A few days later, of course, most of those boxes were automatically re-ticked by Twitter, so that was a bit pointless.

The other thing is that, while you might have expected this to be under Content Preferences it’s actually under Account > Your Twitter data > Interests and ads data. Wherein we also find Tailored audiences.

Here it gets interesting, slightly worrying and more than a little confusing. “You are currently a part of 49 audiences from 28 advertisers” – true, perhaps, but it’s not as simple as that.

You can request your audience list be emailed to you, and after a few minutes it arrived. A page of “Tailored audiences”, four of which were Twitter (but none from the UK). Below that was a list of what it called “Similar audiences” – audiences that Twitter automatically adds you to to increase audiences reach.

It ran to 11 pages!

Eight accounts were from Indeed – none of which were the UK variant. A slew from Sky and Spotify (I have neither and want neither).

I can opt out of ads from these organisations, but can’t get my account removed from their audiences – so who is conning who here? Is Twitter making claims about audience size which don’t match up to reach? How does this work?


On the subject of being tracked erroneously (and pointlessly): over on Facebook last week I got a promoted post from the Conservative candidate in Huddersfield, saying why I should vote for him.

I don’t live in Huddersfield. Pretty sure I’ve snogged a Tory (recently too) but can’t remember the last time I voted for one.

I’m guessing I got this promoted post because I like Carry On Up The Khyber, and the Conservative candidate for Huddersfield bears more than a passing resemblance to Sid James. Data mining to be proud of!