Twitter To Face Another FTC Fine Between $150 And $250 Million
Twitter confirmed Monday that it is under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for violating a 2011 consent agreement, and that it expects a "probable loss" between $150 and $250 million.
"Following the announcement of our Q2 financial results, we received a draft complaint from the FTC alleging violations of our 2011 consent order. Following standard accounting rules we included an estimated range for settlement in our 10Q filed on August 3," a Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider.
The FTC's complaint specifically centers on Twitter's alleged use of "phone number and/or email address data provided for safety and security purposes for targeted advertising during periods between 2013 and 2019," Twitter said it had set aside $150 million to cover a potential fine from the FTC, noting that "the matter remains unresolved, and there can be no assurance as to the timing or the terms of any final outcome."
Twitter admitted it used information given to them for two-factor authentication to be "inadvertently" used in ad targeting and that it didn't know how many people had been affected.
The FTC alleges that Twitter is in violation of a agreement it reached with the agency in 2011, part of a settlement of charges that the company "deceived consumers and put their privacy at risk by failing to safeguard their personal information." In the settlement the FTC barred Twitter "from misleading consumers about the extent to which it protects the security, privacy, and confidentiality" of their private information, and it also required Twitter to implement a "comprehensive information security program" subject to independent audit every other year.
Twitter is facing renewed scrutiny surrounding a major hack last month where employees were tricked into giving hackers access to internal tools that allowed them to hijack dozens of high-profile accounts including those of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Elon Musk, Kanye West, Apple, and Uber.
The hackers then used the accounts to orchestrate a scam that stole at least $120,000.
Three individuals have been arrested following the incident.