Twitter Apologizes for Using Your Phone Number for Advertising

A woman shrugging with a pile of cash

A woman shrugging with a pile of cash

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.

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

Twitter announced that the phone numbers and email addresses of some users provided for two-factor authentication (2FA) protection had been used for targeted advertising purposes-though the company said it was 'unintentional'.

In no way are these additional email and phone numbers supposed to be passed on to other companies to be used for advertising or other purposes.

The company said this was "an error" and that the information should not have been used for ad targeting.

"We have addressed the issue that allowed this to occur and are no longer using phone numbers or email addresses collected for safety or security purposes for advertising", Twitter added.

We're very sorry this happened and are taking steps to make sure we don't make a mistake like this again. They were provided to help protect users' accounts one way or another.

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This is, of course, a big breach of trust - and security - on Twitter's part.

Meanwhile, Partner Audiences provides those same features to advertisers, but the lists are created by third parties.

Social media companies, including Twitter and Facebook, have faced heat from users and regulators globally on how their platforms handle user data.

Hopefully, Twitter has learned from this mistake and will not allow it to happen again.

Last year, the micro-blogging platform asked its 336 million users to change their passwords across its services after it discovered a bug that stored passwords in plain text in an internal system.

Whether or not Twitter meant to use phone numbers, the effect is the same, it was using sensitive account details for ad targeting without users' knowledge or permission.

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