Twitter apologizes after inadvertently user data for advertising
SAN FRANCISO (AFP/Reuters) – Twitter apologized after inadvertently using phone numbers and email addresses for advertising even though the personal data was provided for account security.
Twitter users’ phone numbers and email addresses — submitted to allow for account authentication — were matched with advertisers’ own data to enable targeted ads.
“When you provided an email address or phone number for safety or security purposes this data may have inadvertently been used for advertising purposes,” Twitter said in an online post. “This was an error and we apologise.”
None of the user data was shared with partners outside the company, and it was unclear how many people were affected, the San Francisco-based company said. The issue was fixed in mid-September, Twitter said.
“We’re very sorry this happened and are taking steps to make sure we don´t make a mistake like this again,” Twitter said. Privacy and internet data are hot political topics worldwide, with tech giants such as Twitter and Facebook in the crosshairs of regulators.
Social media companies, including Twitter and Facebook, have faced heat from users and regulators globally on how their platforms handle user data.
Twitter said when advertisers uploaded their marketing lists, it may have matched people on the platform to their list based on the email or phone number provided by account holders.
The company said the information was not shared with third parties, but was made available internally to allow users to receive targeted advertising.