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Nearly nine months after its debut, Twitter has graduated its Audience API, meaning that it’s ready for general release. All brand managers can now use its capability to better understand their audience. In addition to this feed’s full availability, the company has added several features to give brands more insight into who’s interested in their products, while also implementing a policy to protect users.

Starting today, brands are able to create audience segments in one of three ways: by those who follow a public Twitter handle; by people who have seen a brand’s organic tweets in the past 90 days and have engaged; and based on a list of external data such as email addresses, phone numbers, mobile advertising IDs, or if they’ve visited a brand’s website.

But while businesses get these new perks, they’ll also be restricted in how much they can dig into Twitter’s data. The company has also reduced the minimum number of user search results that are displayed from 10,000 to 500. The reporting threshold on API output has also been decreased. To reduce the numbers of samples needed while maintaining both accuracy and user privacy, Audience API uses statistical sampling.

What this means is that brands won’t necessarily have a big license to search for users. Instead this will likely encourage them to be more specific in their queries so that it’s not just a fishing expedition.

This isn’t the first time that Twitter has made changes to the advantage of users, and this move should come at no surprise. The company told developers and brands last year that one of the top considerations when creating this API was that it had to protect user privacy.

“Everything we do is oriented around our users, and the Audience API is no different,” Twitter’s data product manager John Heywood wrote in a blog post. “The approach we have pursued is grounded in probabilistic data aggregation and differential privacy, and our continued work in this area has allowed us to maintain the same levels of protection while making important product improvements throughout the Audience API Beta.”

Twitter vice president of data strategy Chris Moody launched the API at the Flight conference last year, describing it as a way to surface “demographic and psychographic analysis that we’ve never surfaced before.” The tool provides access to demographic data across 10 user models such as gender, interests, location by country, wireless device, TV genre, and language.

Brands interested in accessing the Audience API will have to contact their Gnip account manager for access.

Updated at 1:00 p.m. Pacific on Tuesday: This post has been updated to correct that Twitter is reducing the minimum query from 10,000 to 500. Previous versions had it listed at 1,000 to 500.

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