Home / News / World /  Privacy breach: Twitter to pay $150 million penalty
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To resolve federal regulators' charges that Twitter failed to secure the privacy of user data for six years, the social media company will pay a $150 million penalty and implement new protections. The settlement with Twitter was announced on May 26 by the US Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission. Twitter allegedly breached a 2011 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruling by misleading users about how well it kept and protected their nonpublic contact information, according to the regulators.

Twitter informed users that it was collecting their phone numbers and email addresses for account security purposes from May 2013 to September 2019. However, the government claims that it failed to disclose that it would utilize the information to enable corporations to offer targeted internet adverts to platform users.

In a federal lawsuit filed May 25, the regulators also said that Twitter falsely claimed to comply with US privacy accords with the European Union and Switzerland, which prevent corporations from processing user data for reasons other than those permitted by users.

The $150 million penalty and the required new compliance measures under the settlement must be approved by a federal court in California.

The FTC's 2011 order had alleged serious lapses in Twitter's data security that allowed hackers to gain unauthorized administrative control of Twitter, including access to nonpublic user data.

Twitter plans to introduce additional privacy features to entice users to tweet more. The microblogging service hopes that these new privacy options will allow users more control over the exposure of their tweets, following lists, and other information, making the platform more pleasant to use.

These capabilities, dubbed 'social privacy' tools by Twitter executives, assist users in managing their online reputations and identities. One of the most significant changes is the ability to hide previous tweets, as well as the ability to adjust following lists.

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