Economy

Twitter misused security information for advertising purposes

Twitter misused security information for advertising purposes”

Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences are Twitter's advertising systems, which allow business to match their marketing lists with specific user accounts using the provided email addresses and phone numbers.

The social network has learned that phone numbers and email addresses provided for safety and security (including two-factor authentication) might have "inadvertently" been used for ad purposes, Engadget observed.

Twitter didn't know how many people might have been affected, though, and was reporting this primarily to be "transparent" about what happened.

Except those details weren't provided to Twitter for the purposes of advertising or even identification.

Adding to Twitter's potential troubles, the company finalized an agreement with the FTC in 2011 that alleged the company failed to protect users from security threats.

The incident could invite trouble for Twitter in Washington, where regulators who investigated and penalized Facebook for a series of privacy scandals took issue with its handling of phone numbers.

"This was an error and we apologize", the company said. Feels like someone's trying to distance themselves from the situation.

Twitter assures users that no "personal" information was shared, though we're not sure what Twitter would consider "personal information" if your phone number and email address do not meet the bar.

Another reason the company might want to 'fess up now?

Twitter now joins Facebook, which was caught doing the exact same thing past year by a group of academics from Northeastern University and Princeton University.

Twitter users' phone numbers and email addresses - submitted to allow for account authentication - were matched with advertisers' own data to enable targeted ads. What's especially not cool, however, is when the data you handed over, like a phone number, is given for security purposes.



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