Twitter Misused Private Security Info to Help Advertisers

A signal is posted on the outside of the Twitter headquarters on February 5, 2014, in San Francisco, California.
Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty

Twitter says it inadvertently used personal info, supplied by customers for the aim of defending their accounts, to assist corporations goal them with adverts.

Users supplied Twitter with their cellphone numbers and e-mail addresses so as to allow sure safety features, resembling two-factor authentication, to forestall their accounts from being hijacked. Twitter, in flip, used that info to assist advertisers attain particular audiences, the corporate stated in a statement on Tuesday.

“We cannot say with certainty how many people were impacted by this, but in an effort to be transparent, we wanted to make everyone aware. No personal data was ever shared externally with our partners or any other third parties,” the corporate stated.

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The personal data was used in Twitter’s “Tailored Audiences” promoting system, which permits corporations to add lists of cellphone numbers and e-mail addresses of individuals they want to goal with adverts. Twitter then matches the lists with its personal inner data.

Twitter stated the error that allowed the safety info to be used was mounted as of September 17. It didn’t say how lengthy the error was ongoing. A firm spokesperson stated it had nothing additional to share relating to the timeline past what’s in its assertion.

“We’re very sorry this happened and are taking steps to make sure we don’t make a mistake like this again,” it stated in a press release.

Twitter isn’t the primary social media firm to use contact info supplied by customers for safety functions so as to earn cash. Gizmodo revealed that Facebook was deliberately doing so final yr.


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