Twitter, on Tuesday, apologised after “unintentionally” using phone numbers and email addresses for advertising even though users provided the personal data for extra account security.
Twitter users initially submitted their phone numbers and email addresses to allow for two-factor account authentication. After this, the social platform matched them with advertisers’ own data to enable targeted ads.
Twitter disclosed the security mishap in a blog post. The company said:
“When you provided an email address or phone number for safety or security purposes this data may have inadvertently been used for advertising purposes. This was an error and we apologise.”
Nevertheless, the San Francisco-based company said that they shared none of the user data with partners outside the company. However, it was unclear how many people the issue affected.
According to Twitter, the company fixed the issue in mid-September.
“We’re very sorry this happened and are taking steps to make sure we don’t make a mistake like this again,” Twitter said.
Over the past year, privacy and internet data are hot political topics worldwide. Also, tech giants found themselves caught in the crosshairs of regulators.
Facebook took the brunt of criticism over its privacy malpractices. However, Twitter has been embroiled in its own controversies over how it handles the privacy of its users. Just last month, hackers were able to compromise Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account and tweet racial slurs via text message.
Furthermore, in May 2018, Twitter advised its about 330 million users to change their passwords. This came after it discovered a bug that exposed them in plain text. At the time, Twitter said that no information was breached or misused.