Twitter Risks $ 250 Million Fine for Misuse of User Data
Twitter could be fined up to $ 250 million for misusing users’ phone numbers and email addresses for marketing purposes.
The United States competition authority, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is investigating whether it fines Twitter for using its users’ phone numbers and email addresses for marketing purposes.
The case revolves around data users gave to Twitter for security purposes. Think of telephone numbers that you enter for two-step verification or email addresses with which you communicate when you have forgotten your password.
However, between 2013 and 2019, Twitter used that data to show targeted ads.
According to Twitter, that happened accidentally. The company calls the practice “a mistake”. The FTC does not really agree with that.
This investigation, and any fines attached to it, follows on from a previous 2011 deal. Twitter then promised that it would no longer mislead users about how it handles their personal data and how it protects it.
The Commission has now sent a letter to Twitter reporting that the company violated the 2011 agreement.
The Twitter fine it can get is between $ 150 and $ 250 million, and the company is already putting some money aside in anticipation of that, it said when discussing its quarterly results.