Tech

Twitter admits it provided security phone numbers and emails for advertising

Twitter admits it provided security phone numbers and emails for advertising

Twitter said it recently discovered that email addresses and phone numbers meant to be used for security "may have inadvertently been used for advertising purposes".

Twitter offers an ad product called "tailored audiences", which lets advertisers upload a contact list of customers that the company then matches to existing users on its social network through phone numbers or emails.

"No personal data was ever shared externally with our partners or any other third parties", added Twitter. In that case, the Federal Trade Commission alleged Facebook deceived users because it "did not disclose, or did not adequately disclose" that phone numbers provided through its security tool for the goal of two-factor authentication "also would be used by Facebook to target advertisements to those users". "We're very sorry this happened", Twitter wrote Tuesday in a blog.

Twitter is only supposed to use phone numbers for two-factor authentication, but it appears to have been unintentionally used for more. The resulting settlement requires the company to maintain a comprehensive data security policy and refrain from misrepresenting the way it handles and protects users' data, violations of which could carry fines.

"Partner Audiences allows advertisers to use the same Tailored Audiences features to target ads to audiences provided by third-party partners".

More news: Trump's lawyer Giuliani will not co-operate with House impeachment inquiry

Twitter repeatedly apologizes for this transgression in its statement, but it's bound to impact trust between its users and the social media platform.

It's the latest in a series of security lapses at Twitter in the past year.

Users, however, do not look to be happy with either the mishap or the way Twitter is handling the disclosure.

Earlier in 2017, thousands of Twitter accounts were compromised by Turkish hackers to broadcast "Nazi" tweets, with the finger of blame pointed at the Twitter Counter app. People have added secondary email addresses and their phone numbers to help secure their accounts.


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