ELECTRONIC SULKING MACHINE Twitter has admitted it "unintentionally" fed advertisers users' phone numbers and email addresses for targeted ad purposes.
In a statement, Twitter apologised for the "error" which saw some numbers and email addresses - provided, ironically, for security reasons such as two-factor authentication (2FA) - exposed through its Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences advertising systems.
We recently found that some email addresses and phone numbers provided for account security may have been used unintentionally for advertising purposes. This is no longer happening and we wanted to give you more clarity around the situation: https://t.co/bBLQHwDHeQ— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) October 8, 2019
"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," the company said. "This was an error and we apologize."
The issue was fixed by 17 September and Twitter says no personal data was shared with the company's third-party partners - other than, er, your phone number and email address. The company has no idea how many users were affected by the security glitch.
"As of September 17, we have addressed the issue that allowed this to occur and are no longer using phone numbers or email addresses collected for safety or security purposes for advertising," Twitter sobbed.
"We're very sorry this happened and are taking steps to make sure we don't make a mistake like this again."
The incident, which is unlikely to go unnoticed by regulators critics given Facebook was recently fined $5bn for improperly handling user data, is the latest is a series of security lapses at Twitter.
Back in August, the firm admitted that data belonging to users of the mobile version of Twitter was shared with ad partners, even if you had opted out.
And just last month, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's own account was compromised by a group that calls itself the Chuckle Squad. The breach, which saw Dorsey appear to casually use the N-word, indulge in antisemitism and claim that "Hitler was innocent" came to an end after 15 minutes when Twitter regained control of the account, but it forced the company to disable its SMS tweet feature. µ
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