Twitter Used Information Provided for Security Reasons for Ad Targeting

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Date: 08 – October – 20196

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Today Twitter informed that some email addresses or phone numbers provided by users for security reasons [like two-factor authentication] were used to match their profiles with ads using Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences advertising system. 

 Tailored Audiences allows advertisers to target ads to customers based on their own marketing lists (lists of email addresses or phone numbers that advertiser collects), and the Partner Audiences system that works just like the Tailored Audiences system but the audiences are provided by third-party partners.

What happened is that the information that you or I [the users] gave to Twitter for security reasons were used to match our profile with the marketing list provided by the advertiser based on the email or phone number.

 Twitter said that they cannot say with certainty how many people were impacted by this, but in an effort to be transparent, we wanted to make everyone aware” and added that no personal data was ever shared externally with our partners or any other third parties.”

 In the same post, Twitter wrote that “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.”

 This is not the first time than a social media platform uses information provided by users for security reasons to target them with ads, in July, Facebook received a fine from the FTC for doing exactly the same.