Twitter Utilized User 2FA Phone Numbers For Ad Targeting

October 29th, 2019
Twitter Utilized User 2FA Phone Numbers For Ad Targeting

Twitter isn't having a good year.  Over the past twelve months, the company has fessed up to half a dozen bugs and blunders that have left the company with egg on their faces and have earned the ire of their burgeoning user data.

In late 2018, the company disclosed a bug that shared a variety of private user data with third-party app developers.

Then in January 2019, the company disclosed the existence of a bug that had been sharing a small percentage of private tweets going back more than five years.

However, in May 2019, the company disclosed a new bug that shared the location data of an unknown number of iOS users with "a trusted partner."

On top of that, the month of August 2019 saw the company fess up to two separate issues. One issue involved sharing user data with advertising partners without their users' express consent. While advertisers made inferences about a user's device in order to custom-tailor advertising. That, again, was without the express consent of the users.

Which brings us to this most recent blunder.  The company used phone numbers from its user base for two-factor authentication. Along with email addresses, to display targeted ads.

The company has no data, and no way to tell how many users saw their information exposed and misused.

A formal statement was issued apologizing for the error and stated the issue had been fixed on September 17th. That's small consolation to their users, for whom this kind of thing is fast becoming the norm.  It's enough to make some people rethink using the platform altogether, and rightly so.

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