Twitter has agreed to pay $ 150 million to the Federal Trade Commission, which its chief privacy official, Damien Kieran, called a “privacy incident” when users’ email addresses and phone numbers provided for account security purposes could be used for “unintentional advertising.”
The settlement follows an official lawsuit against the company filed today in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California for misrepresentation of consumer data usage “at least from May 2013 to at least September 2019”.
“In particular, while Twitter represents users that it has collected their telephone numbers and email addresses to secure their accounts, Twitter has failed to disclose that it also used user contact information to help advertisers reach the audience of their choice,” in violation of FTC rules. By 6 It said more than 140 million Twitter users had provided email addresses or phone numbers “based on Twitter’s fraudulent statements that their information would be used for specific purposes related to account security.”
“As a complaint note, Twitter received data from users on the pretext of using it for security purposes, but then ended up using the data to target users with ads,” said FTC Chair Lina Khan. He noted that advertising is a major source of revenue for Twitter.
“The judiciary is committed to protecting the confidentiality of the sensitive data of consumers,” added Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “The $ 150 million fine reflects the seriousness of the allegations against Twitter, and the significant new compliance measures imposed as a result of today’s proposed settlement will help prevent further misleading tactics that threaten users’ privacy.”
Kieran of Twitter said in a blog post that the issue was “addressed on September 17, 2019, and we want to repeat today what we will continue to do to protect the privacy and security of those who use Twitter. Protecting data and respecting privacy.” It’s something we take very seriously. “
The settlement includes operational updates and program improvements to ensure “people’s personal data is protected and their privacy is protected.”
This is the latest headache for the social media company in a bizarre takeover dance with billionaire Tesla founder Elon Musk. The two sides agreed on a sale in late April but Musk appears to be pushing it back, as it appears to have been on “hold” until he received information about the fake account last week.
Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal declined to discuss the status of the deal at its first day’s annual shareholders’ meeting, citing regulatory restrictions.