Twitter will pay $150 million after federal regulators accused it of ‘mishandling’ personal data
The social media giant ‘deceptively’ used user data for targeted advertising, according to federal regulators. Here’s what happened
The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department said Twitter will pay a $150 million fine to settle allegations the social media giant “deceptively” used data from users for targeted advertising, according to The Washington Post.
Driving the news: Twitter is also banned from profiting off this data, which was misleadingly collected, according to federal investigators. If Twitter used a user’s email or phone number for advertising, it will be required to disclose the same, the report stated.
What they’re saying: “As the complaint notes, Twitter obtained data from users on the pretext of harnessing it for security purposes but then ended up also using the data to target users with ads,” said FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan, per NPR.
The tech company has not responded to requests for comment, per NPR.
What happened: The social media app requires users to plug in their telephone number and email address in order to authenticate their account, which comes in handy when a user is locked out of their account.
- However, in September 2019, the company also used that data to scale up its profits from advertising.
- “Twitter ‘unintentionally’ used the information it got from you to secure your account in order to make money,” Eva Galperin, the director of cybersecurity for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote at the time, per Mashable. “This kind of behavior undermines people’s willingness to use 2FA and makes them less secure in the long run.”
State of play: This news comes as Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made a bid to acquire Twitter. The deal is currently “on hold.”