Twitter wants to gain a bigger presence in the lives of consumers, and so from today it’s going behind the scenes of how we connect to our smartphone apps. The most obvious route? Our phone numbers.
On Wednesday it launched a new mobile platform for developers called Fabric, and a core feature called Digits where Twitter foots the bill to send costly registration texts.
That seems generous of Twitter, but there’s a catch: Twitter gets to keep those phone numbers too, and store them on its servers.
It can then use them to enhance its mobile advertising network MoPub. Phone numbers give Twitter a better read on who app users are, to better target them with ads (assuming developers also install MoPub, which Twitter owns and offers them access for free).
Most consumers won’t know about Digits because it will work entirely in the back-end. In fact you may never see the name Twitter when you give the company your number, beyond some tiny, gray text at the bottom of the registration screen that says Digits is “powered by Twitter.”