Twitter has agreed to pay a $150 million penalty as part of a settlement with regulators for allegedly violating its privacy promises.
The Department of Justice and the FTC said, From May 2013 through September 2019, Twitter prompted users to provide their telephone numbers or email addresses for security purposes but the company also used the information to serve people targeted ads.
Back in 2011, Twitter settled the FTC charges that it “deceived consumers” and put their privacy at risk by failing to safeguard their personal information, marking the agency’s first such case against a social networking service.
“The just-announced $150 million civil penalty stems from a new complaint filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the FTC, alleging that Twitter violated the order in the earlier case by collecting customers’ personal information for the stated purpose of security and then exploiting it commercially,” the FTC says.
“This practice affected more than 140 million Twitter users, while boosting Twitter’s primary source of revenue,” said FTC Chair Lina Khan in a statement.
“Specifically, while Twitter represented to users that it collected their telephone numbers and email addresses to secure their accounts, Twitter failed to disclose that it also used user contact information to aid advertisers in reaching their preferred audiences,” the complaint said.
“Keeping data secure and respecting privacy is something we take extremely seriously, and we have cooperated with the FTC every step of the way. In reaching this settlement, we have paid a $150M USD penalty, and we have aligned with the agency on operational updates and program enhancements to ensure that people’s personal data remains secure and their privacy protected,” Twitter said in a statement.