Earlier this year, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said there are "no people at Twitter who know anything about advertising." But apparently, they're hiring.
The micro-blogging website has updated its terms of service to allow Twitter and its partners to target ads based on Tweets, searches, and other information users provide. The company says it's "leaving the door open for exploration in this area but we don't have anything to announce."
According to the new ToS:
The 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. 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.
Twitter has always been reluctant to commit to serving advertisements as a revenue model – the way most web start-ups today stay afloat. In the past, the website has expressed more interest in developing add-on tools and services for companies and professionals. Yet while Biz clearly thinks ads aren't all that, he has never ruled out the possibility.
The new terms also now expressly states that all Tweets belong to the author and that Twitter does not own them. Yes, but the company can "use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display, and distribute" user Tweets any way they please, "because that's what we do," according to Stone on a recent blog post. Twitter's rules on APIs have also been expanded.