Twitter Charged for Deceptively Collected Data
Twitter is one of the most utilized platforms on the Internet, and recently it has been getting a lot more extra attention. Earlier in May, the social media site became the subject of a hostile takeover by the genius entrepreneur Elon Musk. And now Twitter sets the World Wide Web ablaze again; the recent fine of $150 million by the Federal Trade Commission has set Twitterverse on fire.
The low blow came after it was revealed that Twitter had been cheating its way to windfall profits through targeted adverts to its followers. Twitter is accused of collecting millions of phone numbers and email addresses of its followers through two-factor authentication, which helps its targeted advertising campaigns to be more lucrative.
The lawsuit against Twitter claimed that it broke its users’ agreement by knowingly allowing third party companies to spam its followers with promotional adverts. In light of the new accusation, the Fair Trade Commission’s Act categorized the occurrence as a clear violation of the FTC Act.
140 Million Twitter Users Affected
According to court documents, Twitter started the breach in 2013, when 140 million users were requested to provide private credentials to help the company protect their accounts. However, by collecting this information Twitter failed to warn these individuals that they would be the main targets of marketers that were given unauthorized access to the users’ private information.
In addition, in 2011, there was a FTC administrative order issued against the social media company. The order prohibited the corporation from breaching its privacy practices, and benefiting from illegally obtained data.
The 2011 order was issued after Twitter reached a settlement with the FTC in which the government oversight agency charged the company for failing to have the proper security protocols in place to protect its users’ personal information. This stemmed from a 2009 hack when dark web hackers acquired administrative control of Twitter between January and May of that year.
US$150 Million Penalty
The case brought by the FTC against Twitter charged that the social media platform gathered its followers’ data with the disguise of security control purposes. In addition, the social media giant exploited the data through targeted adverts launched at Twitter followers. According to the FTC case, the breach impacted over 140 million Twitter followers. Meanwhile, Twitter’s principal revenue stream increased tenfold over the years.
With the $150 million penalty levied against Twitter, it reflects the seriousness of Twitter’s deceptive action. Additionally, the new measures will ensure compliance that is aimed at preventing Twitter from violating the privacy of its followers with future deceptive tactics.
The FTC’s proposed order states that Twitter followers must be able to use other independent multi-factor authentication methods. Furthermore, Twitter’s mobile authentication apps or security keys must not request users’ phone numbers.
New Security Compliance
Twitter must not profit from deceptively collecting users’ data. Additionally, the company must notify affected users that their phone numbers and email addresses acquired for account security were used for targeting them with marketing adverts.
Twitter’s privacy and security measures must also be updated with the new measures set forth by the FTC. The company must implement a comprehensive privacy security program that addresses the potential security risks of new products. And limit employee access to users’ personal data, as well as immediately notify the Fair Trade Commission if the company suffers a data breach or other security issues that would affect Twitter followers.
The renowned social media company had no choice but to comply with the FTC’s charges and payout $150 million to settle the case. Also, Twitter must accept the significant new compliance procedures that must be implemented to improve its data privacy policies.
Twitter Settlement Sign Up
The Fair Trade Commission will monitor the implemented privacy changes done by Twitter. Also, information will be later provided by the government agency for lawsuit settlement claims filed by Twitter followers.