Twitter admits phone numbers meant for security used for ads

Twitter says it used your 2FA info to advertise by accident

Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences are Twitter's advertising systems, which allow business to match their marketing lists with specific user accounts using the provided email addresses and phone numbers.

"We recently discovered that when you provided an email address or phone number for safety or security purposes (for example, two-factor authentication) this data may have inadvertently been used for advertising purposes", the company said, adding "This was an error and we apologize".

Twitter today revealed it may have misappropriated its users private info by giving it to advertisers.

Twitter said this was a bug, and not something it meant to do. In addition to a $5 billion fine, the settlement included limits on how Facebook shares data with third parties. It told users that it may have "inadvertently" collected and shared some location data with an unnamed third-party partner.

Twitter assures users that no "personal" information was shared, though we're not sure what Twitter would consider "personal information" if your phone number and email address do not meet the bar.


The incident marks the latest security mishap for the social-networking company, but one that could carry with it some legal headaches.

Something similar happened a year ago when, as Gizmodo's Kashmir Hill discovered, Facebook built complex advertising profiles for all its users containing everything from their two-factor authentication phone numbers to info harvested from their friends' profiles.

"Tailored Audiences is a version of an industry-standard product that allows advertisers to target ads to customers based on the advertiser's own marketing lists (e.g. email addresses or phone numbers they have compiled)".

A Facebook spokesperson told Hill at the time that the company used "the information people provide to offer a better, more personalized experience on Facebook, including ads".

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