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Twitter to pay $150 million for alleged data abuse with FTC and DOJ

Twitter will pay $150 million to settle a joint lawsuit brought by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, accusing targeted advertisers of accessing consumers’ contact information.

“From at least May 2013 to at least September 2019, Twitter misrepresented users of its online communication services in the way it maintained and protected the security and privacy of their non-public contact information,” the complaint reads. “Specifically, while Twitter told users it was collecting their phone numbers and email addresses to protect their accounts, Twitter did not disclose that it was also using users’ contact information to reach advertisers to target audiences. ”.

Twitter asks users to provide phone numbers and email addresses to protect their accounts. However, the company illegally took advantage of this practice, allowing advertisers to use the data for specific users, in violation of a 2011 FTC order that prohibits Twitter from misrepresenting its security and privacy practices, the court said.

Under the settlement, which reached the California Federal Court on the same day as the lawsuit, Twitter will be barred from using the collected data. It also calls for measures to improve consumer data protection, including requiring a “comprehensive information security and privacy program with comprehensive procedures to protect user information and assess internal and external data privacy risks.” The program is not detailed in the proposed agreement.

Twitter primarily allows companies to advertise via “promoted products”, which can be advertised tweets, advertised accounts, and promoted trends. It offers a variety of services that advertisers can use to reach their target audience, including “Custom Audience” and “Affiliate Audience”. The former allows advertisers to target specific groups of users by combining phone numbers and email addresses that the existing list of advertisers collects for the same type of information, while the latter allows advertisers to import marketing lists from brokers. Contact information collected by Twitter.

According to the complaint, Twitter used the collected personal information to authenticate accounts in order to deliver targeted advertising and “advance your business interests through its custom audience and partner audience services.”

Following an FTC investigation, Twitter resolved similar allegations in 2011 that it had misrepresented how well it protected the privacy and security of Twitter users. It prohibited the company from continuing to mislead users about how long to keep confidential data.

It is not yet known what he will do after he leaves office. In a statement on Tuesday, the company notified the Securities and Exchange Commission that it would allow its margin loan for the Twitter deal and pledged to raise $33.5 billion in capital.

Tesla shares have dropped about 45 percent since Musk initially posted his stake on Twitter.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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