Oct 8, 2019

Twitter says it unintentionally misused user data for advertising

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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Twitter casts itself as the anti-Facebook

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Twitter's move to ban political ads is just the latest of several moves by the platform to position itself as an antidote to what critics see as Facebook's missteps and ethical lapses.

Why it matters: The free speech banner Facebook is waving used to be shared by most of the big social media companies. A Twitter exec once called the company "the free speech wing of the free speech party."

  • But amid an extraordinary backlash toward Facebook from critics angered at its role in spreading misinformation, its rivals are distancing themselves — and are using the moment to frame their free speech principles as better suited to the era of social media.
Go deeperArrowOct 31, 2019

Twitter stock plummets after missing third-quarter revenue expectations

Twitter's stock took a significant premarket hit Thursday after the company reported that it missed third-quarter revenue and advertising expectations due to several "headwinds," like product issues and greater-than-expected advertising setbacks in July and August.

The state of play: The company blamed a series of bugs that impacted its ability to monetize users' engagement, including a bug that was revealed earlier this quarter that allowed users' phone numbers and email addresses to be used for advertising micro-targeting.

Go deeperArrowOct 24, 2019

Twitter to stop accepting all political ads on the platform globally

Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Wednesday in a series of tweets that the tech giant will no longer accept political or advocacy advertising of any kind on its platform.

Why it matters: Tech companies have come under fire as of late for policies around how they police political ads. Facebook, most notably, has been criticized for saying that the company would not fact-check ads from political candidates or politicians.

Go deeperArrowOct 30, 2019