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Twitter fined $150m in US for selling users’ data
Twitter generates most of its revenue from advertising on its platform, which allows users ranging from consumers to celebrities to corporations to post 280-character messages, or tweets.

Twitter in the US must pay a $150m (£119m) fine after law enforcement officials accused it of illegally using users' data to help sell targeted ads.The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice say Twitter violated an agreement it had with regulators, court documents showed.

Twitter had vowed to not give personal information like phone numbers and email addresses to advertisers. Federal investigators say the social media company broke those rules.

Twitter was fined £400,000 in December 2020 for breaking Europe's GDPR data privacy rules.

The FTC is an independent agency of the US government whose mission is the enforcement of anti-trust law and the promotion of consumer protection. It accuses Twitter of breaching a 2011 FTC order that explicitly prohibited the company from misrepresenting its privacy and security practices.


According to a complaint filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the FTC, Twitter in 2013 began asking users to provide either a phone number or email address to improve account security."

As the complaint notes, 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 Lina Khan, who chairs the FTC."

This practice affected more than 140 million Twitter users, while boosting Twitter's primary source of revenue."

In order to authenticate an account, Twitter requires people to provide a telephone number and email address.That information also helps people reset their passwords and unlock their accounts if required, as well as for enabling two-factor authentication.

Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security by sending a code to either a phone number or email address to help users log into Twitter along with a username and password. But, according to the FTC, until at least September 2019, Twitter was also using that information to boost its advertising business. It is accused of allowing advertisers access to users' security information.

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