Twitter fined $150M for selling user data

Twitter must pay a $150 million fine after police accused it of illegally using user data to sell ads.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the US Department of Justice say Twitter has violated an agreement with regulators. The social network was not supposed to provide advertisers with personal information such as phone numbers and email addresses.

The FTC accuses Twitter of violating an executive order that expressly forbids the company from misrepresenting its privacy and security policies.

According to a complaint filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the FTC, in 2013 Twitter began asking users to provide either a phone number or an email address to improve account security.

In addition to paying the fine, Twitter must also:

  • stop using phone numbers and email addresses that he illegally collected;
  • inform users about the misuse of security information;
  • educate users about FTC law enforcement activities;
  • explain how to turn off personalized ads and view multi-factor authentication settings;
  • provide multi-factor authentication options that do not require a phone number;
  • implement an enhanced privacy and security program that includes FTC incident reporting within 30 days.

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