Twitter is now giving its users more control and clarity over what information third-party apps are allowed to access.
As defined in a recent blog, third-party apps are those that "automatically share your tweets on other networks, connect you to players on gaming platforms, or instantly tweet whenever you update your blog."
Common examples include third-party Twitter apps such as TweetBot, TweetDeck, and Twitterific. But they can include any Web site or service that taps into your tweets.
Such third-party apps need your permission to access certain information about your account. But in an effort to be more sensitive to privacy concerns, Twitter is shining more light on exactly what these apps want from you.
Now when you first try to sign into a third-party app using your Twitter credentials, Twitter will display a detailed permissions screen that lists exactly what information the app is requesting.
For example, the app may want to read your tweets. It may want to see who you follow. Even more, it may want to update your profile or post tweets on your behalf. The permissions screen will also tell you what the app won't be able to do, such as access your private messages or see your Twitter password.
It's then up to you to decide whether or not you're comfortable handing over the level of access that the app requires. Unfortunately, it's still an all or nothing proposition. You can either authorize the app to see everything, or click the "No, thanks" button, which means you won't be able to use the app at all.
As part of the tighter permissions process, Twitter is also now requiring third-party apps that access your direct messages to ask your permission to do so. And by the middle of next month, apps that don't need access to your DMs will no longer have it, letting you use those apps as you normally would.
You can see which third-party apps already have access to your Twitter information: From your Twitter account page, click on the Settings option that appears in the pull-down menu under your photo and user name. From there, click on the Applications menu, and you'll see all of the third-party apps with access. You can click on the link for each one to check out its Web site and even revoke access on an individual basis if you're not comfortable with any of the apps.