Twitter photo tagging: how and why to opt-out


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twitter-privacy-and-photo-taggingTwitter announced their newest mobile feature, photo tagging, in a blog post on Wednesday. The update lets users tag up to 10 people in embedded photos and to tweet up to four photos at a time.

Déjà-vu, anyone?

The Twitter photo tagging and multiple photo upload features closely follow in Facebook’s footsteps—and you might guess what that means for your privacy. If you’re a Twitter user, you’ll need to take a few steps to keep embarrassing photos at bay and maintain your privacy.

Here’s how to opt-out of automatic photo tagging…

How to change your settings via mobile:

  1. On the Twitter app on your phone, click the settings icon.twitter-privacy-mobile-1
  2. Select “settings” from the pop up menu.twitter-privacy-mobile-2
  3. Under “Accounts,” click on the account you’d like to edit (most likely, it’s the one with your name and twitter handle)
  4. Scroll down to the “Privacy” section, and select “Photo tagging”twitter-privacy-mobile-3
  5. Switch “Photo tagging” to OFF. The screenshot below shows a phone that has successfully turned off photo tagging.twitter-privacy-mobile-4

How to change your settings on your computer browser:

  1. Click on the settings icon in the top right corner, and select “settings” from the drop down menu.
  2. Click on “Security and Privacy” from the menu to the left.twitter-privacy-computer-1
  3. Under the heading “Privacy,” select “Do not allow anyone to tag me in photos.”twitter-privacy-computer-2
  4. While you’re at it, make sure your other Twitter privacy settings, like location storing and protected tweets, fit your needs.twitter-privacy-computer-3

Opting out when you don’t know you’re in

The disappearing distinction between Facebook and Twitter (it’s a two-way street when you consider Facebook’s adoption of hashtags) is concerning for personal privacy.

Twitter claims to support Do Not Track, a standard that, when adhered to, stops websites with Twitter integration, like buttons and widgets, from sending information about a user’s activity back to Twitter. This approach has several flaws:

  • You still need to opt-in for Do Not Track. Many Twitter users do not know that this option is available to them.
  • Do Not Track does not address other privacy problems, such as the fact that new Twitter features default to automatic tagging—and to decreased privacy.
  • Do Not Track does not stop all forms of Twitter tracking, let alone all of the tracking that takes places across the internet.

Abine’s DoNotTrackMe is an easier way to stop online tracking. While DoNotTrackMe can’t stop companies like Twitter from automatically opting you in for new features, you can keep up with those developments on the Abine blog.

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