“This practice has affected more than 140 million Twitter users, while boosting Twitter’s primary source of revenue,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said in a statement.
Twitter said Wednesday that the use of personal information for ads was “unintentional,” and that the incident was first disclosed in 2019.
In the case of the alleged misconduct, Twitter only told users that their phone numbers and email addresses are being used for account security purposes, but failed to mention the ads, according to a copy of the complaint seen by CNN.
“From at least May 2013 until at least September 2019, Twitter misrepresented users of its online communication service to what extent it has kept their non-public contact information safe and private,” the complaint reads.
“Twitter’s misrepresentations violate the FTC Act and a 2011 order, which specifically prohibits the company from providing misrepresentations regarding the security of non-public consumer information,” the complaint said.
In addition to the $150 million fine, a proposed new agreement between Twitter and the FTC to settle allegations on Wednesday also prevents the company from making profits from what the FTC described as “deceptively aggregated data” and allowing user authentication methods other than phone numbers. , such as multi-factor authentication applications. The Company will also be required to inform users of its failure to disclose its alleged practice of using contact information for advertising purposes.
Wednesday’s settlement has yet to be approved by the court.