You do not necessarily need to fear if you noticed an alert from Twitter concerning its usage of “your personal information for targeted advertising” in your timeline today. The alert, however, includes a message from the app that is worth reading.
Twitter issues a timeline alert after apologizing for the violation
The issue that the alert is referring to is the fact that recently Twitter reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over its gathering and use of Twitter users’ email addresses and phone numbers for targeted advertising. As today’s timeline alert notes, that personal information was provided by users to help secure their accounts, but Twitter also used it to serve targeted ads, without users’ knowledge.
We observed it this morning using the desktop web version of Twitter. The Twitter alert is now showing up in your timeline. Twitter “may have given you targeted advertising based on an email address or phone number you submitted to us to protect your account.”
Selecting the Learn More button in the timeline alert opens a link to Twitter’s Help Center article on the subject in which the bird app explained the timeline of events that led to the settlement with the FTC. In the statement, Twitter says that the personal info was used in targeted ads until September 2019 and then said since then that they “are no longer using phone numbers or email addresses collected for safety or security purposes for advertising.”
The statement ended with an apology to users and offered a link to a form to contact Twitter’s Office of Data Protection with any questions or comments about its use of personal data.
Twitter also mentioned that users’ phone numbers and email addresses were not shared with advertisers and that users don’t need to do anything with respect to this issue.
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