Image Source: Matt Rourke/AP
To resolve federal authorities’ complaints that Twitter allowed advertisers unauthorized access to users’ personal information, Twitter will pay a $150 million penalty and implement new protections.
The settlement with Twitter was announced on Wednesday by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.
Twitter told users it was collecting their phone numbers and email addresses for account security purposes from May 2013 to September 2019, according to a lawsuit submitted on Wednesday by the agencies. According to the agencies, however, the business failed to mention that it would also utilize the data to enable corporations to send targeted web adverts to customers.
In the complaint, the DOJ and FTC also said that Twitter falsely stated that it complied with US privacy accords with the European Union and Switzerland, which restrict corporations from processing user information for purposes other than those allowed by users.
The settlement will resolve accusations that Twitter violated the Federal Trade Commission Act and a 2011 FTC order by misleading users about how well it kept and protected their nonpublic contact information, according to the authorities.
A federal court in California must approve the $150 million penalty and specified additional compliance procedures as part of the settlement.
The announcement of the settlement comes as Twitter is roiled by Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition bid.
Musk agreed to pay $54.20 per share for Twitter in April. However, weeks later, Tesla’s CEO stated that the agreement could not move through until the platform could demonstrate that less than 5% of its users were false or spam accounts.
Since then, Twitter management have maintained that the purchase will go forward. Musk might be liable for a $1 billion breakup fee if he walks away.