Twitter fined $150m for selling data
May 30, 2022
Twitter has been hit with $150m (£139.9m) fine in the US after law enforcement officials accused the accused social media platform of illegally using users’ data to help sell targeted ads.
Court documents revealed that The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice said Twitter violated an agreement it had with regulators; Twitter had vowed to not give personal information to advertisers – but investigators say the social media company broke those rules.
“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,” said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. “This practice affected more than 140 million Twitter users, while boosting Twitter’s primary source of revenue.”
“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the privacy of consumers’ sensitive data,” added Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “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.”
“Consumers who share their private information have a right to know if that information is being used to help advertisers target customers,” commented US Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds for the Northern District of California. “Social media companies that are not honest with consumers about how their personal information is being used will be held accountable.”
Twitter was also fined £400,000 in December 2020 for breaking Europe’s GDPR data privacy rules.