Twitter has admitted that they’ve “inadvertently” used user data to target people with ads.
Twitter collects personal information like phone number and email address to provide better security like two-factor identification which makes it harder for hackers to access your account, meaning even if they steal your password, it’d be impossible for them to take over your account.
At least that’s what they told the users when they were collecting it. But recently Twitter discovered that these security systems were exposed to advertisers through its Tailored Audiences and Partner Audience advertising systems.
“When an advertiser uploaded their marketing list, we may have matched people on Twitter to their list based on the email or phone number the Twitter account holder provided for safety and security purposes,” Twitter stated. “This was an error and we apologize.”
Twitter hasn’t disclosed the exact number of people affected by this and said that the company addressed the security issue last month. They also didn’t comment on why it took more than three weeks to disclose this issue to the public.
Facebook too faced a similar issue in March and had stated that they had also linked phone numbers for security purposes with targeted advertising.