Twitter has agreed to pay a $150 million penalty for targeting ads at users with phone numbers and email addresses collected from those users when they enabled two-factor authentication. Twitter agreed to the fine and “robust compliance measures to protect users’ data privacy” to settle a lawsuit filed on Wednesday by the US government.
“As the complaint notes, 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,” Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan said. “This practice affected more than 140 million Twitter users, while boosting Twitter’s primary source of revenue.”
The settlement was reached with both the FTC and Department of Justice. “The $150 million penalty reflects the seriousness of the allegations against Twitter, and the substantial new compliance measures to be imposed as a result of today’s proposed settlement will help prevent further misleading tactics that threaten users’ privacy,” DOJ Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said. The payment will go to the US Treasury, according to the settlement.
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