Twitter will pay a $150 million fine and implement new measures to settle federal regulators’ charges the social media platform failed to protect users’ data privacy during a six-year period.
On Wednesday, May 25 the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with Twitter.
Twitter was accused of violating a 2011 FTC ruling by misleading users about how well it maintained and safeguarded the privacy and security of their nonpublic contact information.
FTC Chair Lina 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.”
From May 2013 until September 2019, Twitter informed users that their phone numbers and email addresses were being collected for account security purposes.
However, it neglected to disclose that it would also utilize the information to enable corporations to send targeted online advertisements to the users.
The regulators also claimed that Twitter fraudulently stated it conformed with US privacy accords with the European Union and Switzerland, which prevent companies from processing user information in ways that contradict the objectives authorized by users.
The settlement’s $150 million fine and additional compliance measures must be authorized by a federal court in California.
The FTC’s 2011 order had claimed major flaws in Twitter’s data security that allowed hackers to obtain unlawful administrative control of the platform, including access to nonpublic user information.
Source: Register Citizen