As part of a new privacy breach that has surfaced recently, the micro-blogging site Twitter has admitted that it used users’ mobile numbers for ad targeting.
Twitter’s “Inadvertent” Privacy Breach
According to an official statement, Twitter said it made a “mistake” and unintentionally used users’ phone numbers and email addresses. Users provided the details for the process of two-factor authentication – a security feature meant to safeguard their security and privacy.
Twitter passed on an apology by stating, “We’re very sorry this happened and are taking steps to make sure we don’t make a mistake like this again.”
The ad targeting was specifically meant for Twitter’s Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences advertising system. As a reminder, the Tailored Audience advertising system involves advertisers to target users for ads based on their marketing lists. The marketing list includes users’ mobile numbers and email IDs.
The Partner Audiences ad system lets advertisers target users provided by third-party partners for adverts. It is based on the same list as in the Tailored Audiences.
There is no word on how many users were affected by this. Additionally, Twitter has suggested it did not share any personal data with its partners or other third-parties.
Furthermore, the issue has been addressed, and Twitter no longer uses a people’s phone number or email address for advertisement targeting.
Facebook Did It Too!
When Facebook was on a privacy-breach spree last year, it admitted that it also used users’ phone numbers (provided for two-factor authentication) to target users for ads.
The accusations led Facebook to finally change its ad targeting policies, which we expect to be for everyone’s good.