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Privacy & Data

Weeding Twitter

Remember when you were all a buzz over Twitter (no pun intended)?  The snappy little microblogging application summed up where you were, what you were doing, and what you were thinking at the time.  Soon the buzz started to fade a bit but then you discovered a host of "really cool apps" that let you figure out how "popular" you were on twitter; where you stood as a "power user" in the Twitter pantheon; and the overall firepower of your tweets based on how many followers you had and how influential those followers were.  

Each and every one of these new apps asked one thing in return for regurgitating mindless strands of semi-interesting facts:  your Twitter user name and password.  The fact that you had to "give away" your password probably nagged you a bit, made you uneasy that you were giving a group of unknowns the keys to your Twitter kingdom, but the chill quickly passed once you realized there was no snooping going on.  And like millions of other Twitter users, you probably quickly abandoned these third-party "twitter toys" and have either settled into a comfortable, productive (or not) "tweeting" routine and haven't given those little third party apps any more thought.  But they haven't forgotten about you.
Unless you've actively chosen to "remove access" for those apps, they are all sitting there, their little digital fingers dangling in your everyday Twitter stream.  Most likely these apps just sitting there doing nothing, like your DVD of "Ghost."  In the spirit of "Take Back Your Privacy" why not take a quick inventory of these Apps and simply "turn off" any that you don't use or, more troubling, that you don't recognize at all.  It's a quick and eye-opening process.  
Log into your Twitter account using a web browser, then enter this URL:
Once the page comes up it will look something like this:
(click for larger version)
If you want to remove an App from accessing your Twitter account, hit the "Revoke Access" link.  That's it.  You've now blocked the App from gaining any access to the information in your Twitter account.  I'll bet you're surprised at how many Apps are just sitting there, joy riding on the back of your Tweets.