Twitter was fined $150 million on Wednesday by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice as part of a deal that misled users about how it treated their personal data.
Twitter said it collected users’ email addresses and phone numbers to protect their accounts, but that wasn’t enough to say that this information is also used to help marketers target ads. agencies said. The agencies said the misconduct lasted for at least six years, from 2013 to 2019.
Under settlementTwitter, which must be upheld by a federal court, did not admit to misconduct.
“The $150 million fine reflects the gravity of the allegations against Twitter, and the significant new compliance measures that will be implemented as a result of today’s proposed settlement will help prevent further misleading tactics that threaten users’ privacy,” said Deputy Attorney General Vanita Gupta. , in a statement.
Regulators have scrutinized companies for their privacy practices in recent years. In 2019, FTC fines Facebook $5 billion In a settlement over breaches with Cambridge Analytica, a voter profiling firm. This year, the agency hired the company once known as Weight Watchers to produce an app that collects data from teenagers. The FTC also said it is considering writing new rules governing how companies collect and use data online.
Twitter has grappled with the FTC over privacy before. In March 2011, the company settled charges that it failed to protect users’ personal information after two 2009 breaches in which hackers took administrative control of Twitter. below that settlementThe company has agreed not to mislead consumers about how it protects their privacy over the next 20 years. Twitter also said it will conduct regular security audits.
The FTC and the Justice Department said Twitter violated these terms by using users’ personal information for ad targeting, which they provided for security purposes.
“Keeping data safe and respecting privacy is something we take extremely seriously, and we’ve collaborated with the FTC every step of the way,” said Damien Kieran, Twitter’s privacy chief. Said. expression. Kieran added that Twitter disclosed the problem in 2019 and stopped using its security information for advertising purposes.
The deal came as the social media company grappled with a turbulent takeover from the world’s richest person, Elon Musk. Last month, Twitter accepts Mr Musk’s $44 billion offer take the company private. But in recent weeks, Mr Musk aroused suspicion during the deal Twitter took the lead to finalize.
On Wednesday, Mr. Musk announced in a file He said he has increased his personal financial commitment to the Twitter deal and now plans to contribute $33.5 billion to the purchase price, either from its own funds or in partnership with other Twitter shareholders.
The initial financing plan included $21 billion in equity from Mr. Musk, as well as a $12.5 billion bank loan that would be secured by his stake in electric car maker Tesla, which Mr. The loan amount had already been cut in half earlier this month, as Tesla’s shares fell amid a wider market debacle and Mr. Musk took stock commitments from other investors.
In Wednesday’s filing, Mr. Musk said the entire loan had been “terminated” and would rely more on additional equity. Twitter shares rose as much as 6 percent in after-hours trading as investors interpreted the move as a sign that Mr.
In the filing, Mr. Musk also said he was in talks with other Twitter shareholders. Jack Dorsey, the founder of the company, instead of getting paid for his shares, on transferring his existing shares to the merged company after the deal is closed. If Mr. Dorsey or some other shareholders do this, it could reduce the amount of money Mr. Musk has personally committed and the financial risk to him.