Twitter recently disclosed on its support website that it has been “inadvertently” using some user data, including email addresses and phone numbers, for advertising purposes despite the fact that information was submitted by Twitter users solely for the purpose of account security.
We recently found that some email addresses and phone numbers provided for account security may have been used unintentionally for advertising purposes. This is no longer happening and we wanted to give you more clarity around the situation: https://t.co/bBLQHwDHeQ
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport)
The social network notes that the data was used in its Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences advertising system. Twitter explains that when an advertiser uploaded their marketing list, it may have matched people on Twitter to their list based on the email or phone number provided by the Twitter account holder.
Twitter also notes that it is uncertain how many people were impacted by this, which is why it is making everyone aware of its so-called mistake:
“No personal data was ever shared externally with our partners or any other third parties. 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.
We’re very sorry this happened and are taking steps to make sure we don’t make a mistake like this again.”
In the past, Facebook was found to have intentionally used phone numbers provided for security to target ads.