Oct 8, 2019

Twitter says it unintentionally misused user data for advertising

Ina Fried, author of Login

Twitter disclosed Tuesday that it "unintentionally" used some email addresses and phone numbers for advertising even though the information was provided for account security.

Why it matters: It's the latest example of a tech company misusing user data.

"We cannot say with certainty how many people were impacted by this, but in an effort to be transparent, we wanted to make everyone aware. No personal data was ever shared externally with our partners or any other third parties."
— Twitter said in a blog post

But but but: The information was used to help tailor which advertising some users saw.

"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."

  • It's not immediately clear why Twitter is only now notifying users.

Meanwhile: While in Twitter's case the use was accidental, Facebook intentionally used phone numbers provided for security to target ads — at least until the FTC complained.

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Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May, with 2.5 million jobs gained, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The far better-than-expected numbers show a surprising improvement in the job market, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The difficulty of calculating the real unemployment rate

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Note: Initial traditional state claims from the weeks of May 23 and 30, continuing traditional claims from May 23. Initial PUA claims from May 16, 23, and 30, continuing PUA and other programs from May 16; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

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Why it matters: Traditional economic reports have failed to keep up with the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic and have made it nearly impossible for researchers to determine the state of the U.S. labor market or the economy.

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