Twitter to pay $150m to settle claims of users’ data misuse
The company is claimed by US regulators to have given advertisers user contact data collected in the name of security.
Twitter will pay $150m and put in new safeguards to settle allegations of misuse of user's personal data made by federal regulators.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday the settlement with Twitter.
In the complaint filed, the agencies said that from May 2013 to September 2019, Twitter told users that it was collecting their email addresses and phone numbers for purposes of account security. However, the company failed to reveal it would also use the data to enable companies to send targeted online ads to users.
The FTC and DOJ also said in the complaint that Twitter falsely claimed it acted in accordance with US privacy agreements with Switzerland and the European Union, which ban companies from processing user data in ways that are at odds with purposes authorized by users.
The regulators say the settlement will resolve claims that Twitter breached the FTC act and a 2011 FTC order by misleading users about how properly it maintained and preserved the privacy and security of their nonpublic contact data.
A federal court in California must approve the $150m penalty and the required new compliance measures under the settlement.
It is worth mentioning that the news of the settlement came amid Twitter being in deep turmoil over a $44bn takeover by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
In April, Musk reached a deal to buy Twitter at $54.20 a share, but weeks later, he said the deal could not progress until the platform proves that less than 5% of its users were spam accounts or fake.
Twitter officials have stated since that they plan to move forward with the deal. If Musk changes his mind, he would have to pay a $1 billion breakup fee.