Twitter admits to sharing user data with ad partners without consent

7 Aug 2019171 Views

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Twitter mistakenly shared data including country codes and information about how users interact with ads.

In Twitter’s latest blogpost, which was published yesterday (6 August), the company admitted that it had mistakenly shared user data with third parties and used data for personalised ads without obtaining user permission.

“We recently found issues where [users’] settings choices may not have worked as intended,” the company wrote.

“If you clicked or viewed an advertisement for a mobile application and subsequently interacted with the mobile application since May 2018, we may have shared certain data with trusted measurement and advertising partners, even if you didn’t give us permission to do so.”

According to Twitter, this data included country codes, whether the user engaged with the ad and when they did so, and information about the ad.

“As part of a process we use to try and serve more relevant advertising on Twitter and other services since September 2018, we may have shown you ads based on inferences we made about the devices you use, even if you did not give us permission to do so,” it added.

The company also said that this data stayed within Twitter and did not contain any information such as passwords or email details. It added that it has since fixed the issues.

“We fixed these issues on 5 August 2019. We know you will want to know if you were personally affected, and how many people in total were involved. We are still conducting our investigation to determine who may have been impacted and if we discover more information that is useful, we will share it,” the company stated.

As concern about Facebook’s data collection, usage and storing practices has increased over the last few years, Twitter has been attempting to make a public effort to be more transparent about how it uses, collects and shares user data.

Although focus has been on Facebook, Twitter also collects user data and has had a number of hiccups with how it handles that information.

Earlier this year, the social media giant disclosed the discovery of a bug that resulted in an account’s location data being shared with a Twitter ad partner under certain circumstances.

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com