T-Mobile sells your app usage data to advertisers, unless you opt out now
T-Mobile is using your app usage data to allow advertisers to more effectively influence your buying decisions.
Update June 29, 2022: We have noticed that the name of the Magenta Marketing Platform Choices app has been changed to Magenta Ads Platform Choices on Android. The name on iOS is Magenta Mktg Platform Choices. The instructions below have been updated with this name but the links and apps remain the same.
What you need to know
- T-Mobile Advertising Solutions is collecting, anonymizing, and selling your app usage data to advertisers.
- T-Mobile uses your information to create what it calls personas to allow advertisers to more accurately target certain groups of people.
- App Insights enables advertisers to target more specific groups such as those with a competing app installed or apps that suggest a certain lifestyle.
- Use the Magenta Marketing Platform Choices app to opt out.
Your data is valuable. Even so, it's very rarely the user that profits off of this data, instead advertisers buy it up so they can more accurately target advertisements. As reported by The Verge and citing analysis from Ad Exchanger, one of the vendors of this information is T-Mobile Advertising Solutions by way of a program called App Insights. This program gives marketers access to which apps T-Mobile subscribers use.
The data is used to create groups of people so your app usage data isn't directly linked to you. This allows advertisers to target customers without needing to know precisely who they are. Even so, your app usage can tell a lot about you. As it's proudly proclaimed on the Advertising Solutions, "apps speak louder than words," calling app insights the strongest indicator of consumer intent.
If you want to opt out, you can use the Magenta Ads Platform Choices app on Android and Magenta Mktg Platform Choices iOS. This will also show you just how many companies have data about your device. Interestingly, Ad Exchanger points out that iOS users are excluded from the program, suggesting that T-Mobile may not wish to get on Apple's bad side. Not only that but there is also a lack of fidelity of information when it comes to Apple's platform. To see a more in-depth analysis, Ad Exchanger has gone into great detail explaining each component.
This is an unfortunate hoop to jump through for T-Mobile customers concerned about their privacy, especially since T-Mobile has some of the best cell phone plans around for heavy users. It's also unfortunate that T-Mobile isn't the first and won't be the last carrier to implement something like this with Verizon Wireless kicking off a similar program in late 2021.
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When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.