Twitter Inc, will have to pay a hefty fine of $150 million penalty to settle a federal privacy suit!
The first major deal between a large tech company and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has pledged to more aggressively police data abuses.
Federal officials alleges Twitter, ’deceptively’ used phone numbers and emails, collected for security purposes, for targeted advertising
- Twitter’s $150 million privacy settlement with the FTC represents about 3% of the company’s revenue last year.
The FTC order also requires Twitter to notify affected consumers, alert the FTC of future data breaches and undergo independent security audits every other year for the next two decades.
*Statista chart on Twitter revenue 2010-2020
The company must provide users multi-factor authentication options that don’t rely on phone numbers, a provision that the FTC has begun pushing this year
Federal prosecutors alleged that Twitter collected phone numbers and email addresses for account security measures and then fed the information into its advertising tools, an additional use of the data the government said it failed to disclose.
- The allegedly deceptive behavior affected up to 140 million people, according to a statement from the FTC
Between 2013 and 2019,
Twitter told users that it was collecting their information to enable multifactor authentication measures on their accounts, according to a Justice Department complaint filed on behalf of the FTC.
The company didn’t properly notify users that it was then using the information to help sell ads.
Twitter Chief Privacy Officer Damien Kieran said that user data “may have been inadvertently used for advertising” and that the company resolved the issue in 2019.
As part of the settlement, he said, “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.”
*The deal comes as Elon Musk pursues a $44 billion takeover of Twitter.