Twitter will pay a fine of $ 150 million for targeting ads with phone numbers

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“Twitter obtained data from users on the pretext of harnessing it for security purposes, but then ended up also using the data to target users with ads,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said in a statement. “This practice affected more than 140 million Twitter users, while boosting Twitter’s primary source of revenue.” Elon Musk at Odds With Twitter Over $44B Buyout Deal: What You Need to Know. The conduct violated the FTC Act and the 2011 Commission Act. It also violated the EU-US Privacy Shield and the Swiss-US Privacy Shield agreements, according to the FTC. Twitter said some of the data was “inadvertently” used for advertising purposes.

According to the FTC, Twitter utilised personal data obtained for security purposes for targeted advertising. As part of a deal with the US Federal Trade Commission, Twitter will pay a $150 million fine for using account security data such as phone numbers and email addresses to target advertising at users. The FTC said Wednesday that the firm assured customers that their phone numbers and emails would be used to safeguard their accounts with two-factor authentication, but that they were also used for advertising reasons between 2014 and 2019.


  • Along with agreeing to pay the $150 million penalty, Twitter is prohibited from “profiting from deceptively collected data” and must allow users to use other two-factor methods like security keys and apps. Twitter must also notify its users that it misused their personal data.

  • “Keeping data secure and respecting privacy is something we take extremely seriously, and we have cooperated with the FTC every step of the way,” Twitter said in a blog post. “In reaching this settlement, we have paid a $150M 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.”

FTC Chair Lina Khan says the statement underscores that children have a right to be educated without having to “surrender to the surveillance” of tech companies. She added that there are early indications that some educational tech companies may be collecting far more data than they need, creating a risk that some students could be profiled and targeted if that data were ever exposed in a breach.

Digital privacy and children’s advocates have long called for the act, which was last revised in 2012, to be updated to better reflect the data collection practices of current technology. The push intensified during the pandemic as many children were forced to switch to virtual learning, dramatically increasing the amount of time they spent online, as well as the quantity of personal information collected as they complete their schoolwork.

Under COPPA, companies are barred from collecting children’s data without the consent of their parents, but must give children access to educational technologies even if parents or schools decline the companies’ request to collect certain information.


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