Aug 3, 2020 - Technology

Twitter faces FTC fine of up to $250 million over alleged privacy violations

Twitter logo in front of a lock

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket

The Federal Trade Commission has accused Twitter of using phone numbers and emails from its users to make targeted ads between 2013 and 2019, Twitter said in an SEC filing published Monday.

Why it matters: Twitter estimates that the FTC's draft complaint, which was sent a few days after its Q2 earnings report, could cost the company between $150 million and $250 million. The complaint is unrelated to the recent Twitter hack involving a bitcoin scam.

  • A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment when asked if the company was denying the FTC's allegations, and said the company had followed standard accounting rules to estimate the settlement.
  • Twitter received the FTC's complaint on July 28.

The backdrop: The FTC is alleging that Twitter violated its 2011 agreement to stop misleading consumers about how it protects user privacy.

  • In October, Twitter said it had "unintentionally" used some email addresses and phone numbers for advertising even though the information was provided for account security, like two-factor authentication.
  • Twitter declined to comment on the October announcement.

Go deeper: Twitter's big hack bares broad dangers

Go deeper