According to the US Federal Trade Commission, Twitter agreed to pay a $150 million fine because of accusations that it used account security data such as phone numbers and email addresses to target advertising at users. An investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that between 2014 and 2019, Twitter used users’ phone numbers and e-mail addresses for advertising purposes.
In a statement, FTC Chair Lina M. Khan said,
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. This practice affected more than 140 million Twitter users, while boosting Twitter’s primary source of revenue.
Twitter Pays $150 Million Fine For Breaching Users’ Personal Data
The actions taken were in violation of the FTC Act and the Commission Act of 2011. Also, according to the FTC, it was in violation of the EU-US Privacy Shield and the Swiss-US Privacy Shield Agreements.
Some of the information was “inadvertently” used for advertising purposes, according to a tweet from Twitter.
Furthermore, Twitter said in a blog post that it takes data security and privacy “extremely seriously” and has worked closely with the FTC throughout the investigation. A $150 million fine was paid, and the company has agreed to make operational changes in order to ensure that people’s personal data is secure and their privacy is protected.
Furthermore, the authority also asked Twitter to include two-factor authentication methods like security keys and apps for its users in addition to the $150 million fine. If Twitter has violated its users’ privacy, the company must also inform them, according to FTC.