Twitter Faces Potential $250M Fine For ‘Inadvertently’ Taking Users’ Contact Info For Advertising

Jack Dorsey by JD Lasica is licensed under Flickr CC BY 2.0
Twitter may face a fine of up to $250 million for using phone numbers and emails from its users to target advertising, according to a new filing with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The social media giant submitted the regulatory filing with the FTC on Tuesday estimating that it could be fined by the federal government between $150 million and $250 million, according to CNN. The FTC alleged in a complaint given to the company last month that Twitter used data “provided for safety and security purposes for targeted advertising during periods between 2013 and 2019.”

In an October blog post, Twitter said it “recently discovered that when you provided an email address or phone number for safety or security purposes (for example, two-factor authentication) this data may have inadvertently been used for advertising purposes.” On July 24, the FTC announced that it had settled a case against Facebook over similar charges. Facebook agreed to pay the federal government $5 billion, the largest fine in FTC history.

The filing comes about two weeks after a 17-year-old and two accomplices allegedly hacked dozens of the most prominent accounts on Twitter, including people such as former President Barack Obama, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, rapper Kanye West, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The hack also hit the brand accounts of businesses such as Apple and Uber.