Feds say Twitter used contact info collected for security purposes to target ads

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  • Twitter has settled a $150 million settlement with the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission over alleged misrepresentation of its data privacy practices.
  • The government accused Twitter of misrepresenting the extent of privacy protections and security of users’ non-public contact information between at least May 2013 and September 2019.
  • The US alleges that Twitter told users it collected contact information to secure their accounts, but did not disclose that it also used that data to target ads.

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Twitter inks $150 million settlement with Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission over alleged misrepresentation of their data privacy practices, agencies announced on Wednesday.

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The settlement, which still needs to be approved by a federal judge, will resolve the government’s claims that Twitter did not adequately inform its users about the use of their contact information instead of simply securing their accounts. how to target ads, in violation of the FTC Act and a 2011 Agreement Arrived with the agency.

In a lawsuit accompanying the settlement announcement, the government accused Twitter of misrepresenting the extent of privacy protections and security of users’ non-public contact information between at least May 2013 and September 2019.

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The agencies alleged that Twitter collected phone numbers and email addresses for users to secure their accounts with two-factor authentication, but did not disclose that information to help advertisers target their messages. was also used. He also accused Twitter of falsely claiming to adhere to the international privacy shield framework, which prohibits companies from processing user data for purposes they have not authorized.

In a statement announcing the settlement, FTC Chair Leena Khan said that the alleged breaches of Twitter affected more than 140 million Twitter users.

As part of the agreement, Twitter will also have to put in place new compliance measures, including creating a comprehensive privacy program, conducting a privacy review, and providing written and regular reporting before any new product or service collects personal user information.
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This includes regularly testing your data privacy protections. It must also submit to a regular independent evaluation of its data privacy program. Both the DOJ and the FTC will be responsible for enforcing compliance with the Settlement Terms.

“The $150 million fine reflects the seriousness of the allegations against Twitter, and the deceptive threats threatening users with substantial new compliance measures to be implemented as a result of today’s proposed settlement,” DOJ Associate Attorney General Vanitha Gupta said in a statement. The strategy will help prevent ‘secrecy.”

The $150 million fine represents about 3% of Twitter’s 2021 Revenue $5.08 billion.

The settlement is the latest effort by US law enforcers to enforce consumer protection laws for alleged data privacy breaches. In 2019, the FTC settled a privacy claim against Facebook for a record $5 billion. But critics at the time said it still wasn’t enough, noting that the figure made up about 9% of the company’s 2018 revenue, and argued that it was a slap on the wrist that could push tech companies like this again. Will encourage you to take risks.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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