Twitter has announced revisions to its terms of service that explicitly detail the possibility of introducing ads to the social network, including targeting those ads based on users' content and information.
On the firm's blog today, founder Biz Stone wrote, "In the Terms, we leave the door open for advertising. We'd like to keep our options open as we've said before."
Back in May, Stone said the company was unlikely to implement traditional ad formats such as display advertising, but described "the facilitation of connections between businesses and individuals" as "compelling." "Do we hate advertising? Of course not... There's also room for new innovation in advertising, marketing, and public relations and Twitter is already part of that," he said.
Today's updates go a step further, however, stating, "[Twitter's] Services may include advertisements, which may be targeted to the Content or information on the Services, queries made through the Services, or other information. The types and extent of advertising by Twitter on the Services are subject to change."
The wording of the terms suggests that contextual ads, or ads targeted to the content of users' accounts -- such as geographic location -- are a distinct possibility.
Rival social network and market leader Facebook has itself struggled to monetize its platform through advertising, and faced criticism from some quarters over the way it makes use of user data to target commercial messages. Similarly, many agencies and brands are reluctant to advertise on social media platforms due to fears of appearing alongside inappropriate or brand-devaluing content.
The new Twitter terms continue by saying, "In consideration for Twitter granting you access to and use of the Services, you agree that Twitter and its third party providers and partners may place such advertising on the Services or in connection with the display of Content or information from the Services whether submitted by you or others."
Other non ad-related updates to the terms of service concern user ownership of "tweets," spam and abusive behavior, and use of the network's API.
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Jack Marshall was a staff writer and stats editor for ClickZ News from 2007 until August 2011.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT