Social media company Twitter recently revealed that it had “unintentionally” used email addresses and phone numbers provided by users for account security purposes for targeted advertising.
BBC News reports that social media site Twitter has admitted to “inadvertently” using email addresses and phone numbers meant to be used for user account security for targeted advertising purposes. The firm stated that third-party marketers may have been able to reach specific Twitter users based on contact details even if the user had specifically requested for their information to not be used in this way.
The firm said in a statement that it: “cannot say with certainty how many people were impacted” but BBC News believes that it affects users globally. The company is not proactively contacting customers directly to inform them of the breach, which is unusual in this situation. Twitter claims that it addressed the issue “as of September 17th” but did not state when it discovered the issue.
The firm stated that it was “no longer using phone numbers or email addresses collected for safety or security purposes for advertising.” Twitter, which has its E.U. HQ based in Dublin, Ireland, did not confirm whether or not it had notified the Irish Data Protection Commissioner about the issue but said that it was communicating with regulators “where appropriate.”
“When an advertiser uploaded their marketing list, we may have matched people on Twitter to their list based on the email or phone number the Twitter account holder provided for safety and security purposes,” the company explained. “This was an error and we apologize.”
We recently found that some email addresses and phone numbers provided for account security may have been used unintentionally for advertising purposes. This is no longer happening and we wanted to give you more clarity around the situation: https://t.co/bBLQHwDHeQ
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) October 8, 2019