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Twitter agrees to pay $150 million fine for selling user data for targeted ads


According to court documents filed on Wednesday, May 25, social media giant Twitter agreed to Pay a $150 million fine after he was accused of illegally selling private information, such as phone numbers, to target advertising when he claimed the information would be used for security reasons. He read that between May 2013 and September 2019, Twitter was accused of misleading its users about the “security and privacy” of their data.

According to reports, US officials pointed out that about $3 billion of Twitter’s $3.4 billion in revenue in 2019 came from advertising.

Under the settlement announced by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, the company will pay $150 million. In addition to the monetary settlement, Twitter will be prohibited from “taking advantage of its deceptively collected data,” the FTC said. Additionally, the social media giant has been asked to strengthen its compliance practices under the terms of the agreement.

Twitter Privacy Officer Damien Kieran took to Twitter to share a blog post in which he wrote how “Twitter has reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding a disclosed privacy incident in 2019 when certain email addresses and phone numbers were provided for account security purposes, may have been inadvertently used for advertising purposes, according to FTC regulations.

“@Twitter, data security and privacy are things we take very seriously. Today we shared an update on our settlement with the FTC regarding a disclosed privacy incident in 2019,” Damien Kieran tweeted.

“Our settlement with the @FTC reflects Twitter’s pre-existing security and privacy commitments and investments. We will continue to partner with our regulators to ensure they understand how Twitter’s security and privacy practices are always evolving for the better,” added the privacy manager of microblogging site Twitter.

It may be noted that the complaint against the social media giant had stated that the misrepresentations violated FTC law and a 2011 settlement with the agency. Specifically, while Twitter told users it collects their phone numbers and email addresses to secure their accounts, Twitter did not disclose that it also uses users’ contact information to help advertisers. reach their preferred audiences,” the complaint reads.

The fine comes as Twitter is the subject of a $44 billion takeover bid by billionaire Elon Musk.

Recall that in 2018, the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) imposed a fine of 10 million euros (11.4 million dollars) on Facebook for having illegally collected the data of its users for commercial purposes. In addition to imposing a fine, the AGCM had also asked Facebook to issue an apology on its website and app.

Facebook had faced allegations of deception by not informing them when they signed up that their personal data would be used by it for marketing purposes. The Authority also observed that Facebook does not reveal to its users that their personal data will be used by it for its benefit and instead stresses that Facebook is free. However, Facebook had denied allegations of selling user data to third parties.