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Twitter now allows users to add birthdays to their profiles

The social networking service is borrowing one of the most popular features from Facebook.


Psst, Twitter wants to know your birthday -- but will you let them?

The social networking service said Monday with the new feature, users are now able to share and celebrate their birth date along with other users -- complete with colorful animated balloons on that special day.

Users can opt whether to share their B-day with the public, their followers, who they follow or "only me." They can select the "edit profile" option on Twitter and include the birth month and day or the birth year separately.

"Your birth date is a completely optional part of your profile and you have full control over who can see it," product manager Ricardo Castro wrote in a blog post.

Twitter used comedian Kevin Hart, who has 20 million followers and celebrated his 36th birthday on Monday, as an example.

The feature is Twitter's latest attempt to adjust its service to attract more people, and potentially appease Wall Street by bolstering its advertising revenue. Twitter, which counts more than 300 million people who log into its service each month, has struggled to stand out from the shadow of its larger competitor Facebook, which counts more than four times as many users and pulls in more than eight times as much revenue.

Those struggles contributed to the sudden exit of its CEO, Dick Costolo.

While Twitter is striking a playful tone with its new birthday feature, not everyone is convinced. Some point to the company's own advisory saying "we will use your birthday to show you more relevant content, including ads."

"It smacks of digital desperation," said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. "It will be interesting to see how Twitter will be able to sell that additional data point to advertisers."