U.S. Govt. Sues Twitter For Misleading Users On Data Privacy

U.S. Govt. Sues Twitter For Misleading Users On Data Privacy
Image: Abhishek Mishra/FossBytes

Troubles don’t seem to end for Twitter. Amid the acquisition and layoffs, it has to now pay a hefty civil penalty for misusing its users’ private data. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Twitter.

The document reveals how Twitter deceptively misused the users’ personal data between 2013 to 2019 for monetary gain. It shared the data with the advertisers, which is a direct violation of the FTC Act and Order of 2011.

What did Twitter do?

Twitter claims to be an extremely privacy-focused social media platform now. But when it was in an evolving phase, it made it compulsory to add confidential info such as email addresses and phone numbers.

Twitter assured that this was to increase the security of the account and make the login process easier. But the company knowingly shared the data with its advertisers to map personas and target the right people using ads.

During this period, Twitter also claimed to comply with European Union-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks laws for data repurposing, which turned out to be false.

The lawsuit claims that the company must pay $150 million in civic penalties for the damages done to the users. It will also have to maintain a “comprehensive” privacy and information security program. Moreover, it will have to inform the users whose data the company misused, about the lawsuit and the settlement.

Image: YouTube

CPO’s Tweet


Twitter’s chief privacy officer Damien Kieran shared the news about the settlement on his Twitter account. He assured the users about Twitter’s commitment to privacy. Damien added that they will partner with regulators to help them understand how Twitter is proactive in ensuring users’ privacy.

Facebook also paid a $5 billion penalty for a similar transgression in the past. Twitter acquisition encountered an abrupt halt after Elon Musk asked for data on spam accounts. Have you lost trust in social media platforms? Will they ever stop misusing your personal data? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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