May 18, 2017

Twitter updates privacy policies, lets you in on secrets

Yesterday, Twitter began informing users that it updated its privacy policy, including how Twitter uses offline browser history to inform advertisers of your interests. Twitter used to store data it collected on users for 10 days, but it says it will now store that data for a month. Of course, users can opt out of this collection entirely, and have always been able to, but Twitter made a point to flag users of this via a very visible full-screen pop-up.

Why it matters: The move comes after Facebook was penalized in France and Belgium for failing to adequately disclose details of user data collection given to third-parties to sell advertising. This is Twitter getting ahead of that problem. The update also lets users edit their audience targeting system, so that Twitter can better target you with ads you actually like.

Gut check: More than a quarter of internet users in the U.S. use ad blockers, and that number has been steadily increasing year over year, according to estimates by eMarketer.

Fun take: Recode's Kurt Wagner notes that the update now allows users to see what "interests" Twitter thinks you have based off on-platform Twitter data as well as off-platform data that it has collected from browsing history, cookies, etc. Users can also request how many audience segments they've been pinged to and how many advertisers are targeting them.

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Coronavirus updates: U.S. probes case with no clear links, virus hits more countries

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The CDC said Wednesday U.S. clinicians have found the novel coronavirus in a person who did not recently return from a foreign country nor knowingly have contact with anyone infected, as six more countries reported their first cases.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others. The number of new cases reported outside China exceeded those inside the country for the first time on Tuesday, the WHO said Wednesday. South Korea has the most, with 1,595 infections confirmed by Wednesday night. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 453 cases have been confirmed.

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President Trump with members of the new coronavirus task force, including Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on Wednesday. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

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Trump assigns Pence to lead U.S. coronavirus response

Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced at a press briefing Wednesday evening that he'll be putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of leading the administration's response to the coronavirus.

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