Twitter Says It “inadvertently” Used Security Phone Numbers For Ads

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Twitter on Oct 8 said that it “inadvertently” used contacts and email addresses that users provided for security reasons to show advertisements to its users.

Written By Ruchit Rastogi | Mumbai | Updated On:
Twitter

Social media giant Twitter on October 8 said that it “inadvertently” used contacts and email addresses that users provided for security reasons to show advertisements to its users. In a statement, Twitter said that it had recently discovered the breach wherein email addresses and contact numbers were probably used for commercial purposes, especially in their Partner Audiences promoting and Tailored framework.

A human error

The company stated that the Tailored framework was a product that allowed the ad-makers to use advertisements and target potential customers based on the lists compiled by the advertisers. The social media giant, however, did not provide any information on how many users were impacted. 

Twitter stated it "cannot say with certainty how many people were impacted. "But in an effort to be transparent, we wanted to make everyone aware."

Besides, Twitter mentioned how the Partner Audiences framework used a similar path as that of a Tailored framework but over here third party vendors also had a role to play. Twitter also added that when the list was uploaded, their employees may have used a few email ids and phone numbers to match the users on the list and that was simply a human error they deeply regretted. 

"We're very sorry this happened and are taking steps to make sure we don't make a mistake like this again."

Read: Senators Warn Of Foreign Social Media Meddling In US Elections

Twitter further talked about how they accidentally let makers of different advertisements match respective users according to their own marketing catalog. According to the latest reports, Twitter fixed their mistake and in their defense, they stated that not a single piece of personal information was shared with any of the third-party marketing vendors.

Read: Twitter, TweetDeck Hit With Worldwide Outage, Affecting Thousands

A security breach by Facebook

In April 2019, Facebook was being busted for extracting the personal information of its users such as email ids and contact numbers without their knowledge. According to reports, the Mark Zuckerburg-led company took the information of about 1.5 million Facebook users without them knowing whenever people opened a new account. The questionable privacy breach came into question after Facebook was questioned about why it was asking for email passwords of new users whenever they created an account. 

Read: Facebook Tightens Political Ad Rules Ahead Of US Presidential Election

In addition to this, if a user did enter his/her password, a message popped up saying that the website was importing their contacts without any prior information and in their defense, Facebook stated that the contacts that were imported were not shared with anyone.

Read: Facebook To Hire Senior Journalists In An Attempt To Curb Fake News

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