Social networking site Twitter revealed today that it used phone numbers provided by users for two-factor authentication (2FA), along with email addresses to display targeted ads. “We recently discovered that when you provided an email address or phone number for safety or security purposes (for example, two-factor authentication) this data may have inadvertently been used for advertising purposes, specifically in our Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences advertising system”.
The phone numbers and emails that became visible to several advertisers were the same one that were entered by users in the multi-factor protection section with purpose to boost up their accounts security levels. This time users were not able to avoid the targeted advertisements. Twitter mentioned that they didn’t performed such nasty acts deliberately. The issue has been fixed on September 17 and Twitter accounts have stopped providing advertisers with user contact information. Company stated that, no other used-based data was disclosed.
For this incident, Twitter officially apologized to all the users and claims that there is no exact information on the number of user were affected. Both partner Audiences and Tailor Audiences allow third-parties to show targeted ads on several platforms. In case you have entered your real phone number and email address while seeing the two-factor authentication, be ready for getting some eye-catching offers and deals of a number of products.
This is not the first time that a social media platform failed to protect user phone numbers and emails. Facebook was also blameworthy for such incident last year. Facebook were exposing users’ vital information to third-parties whose main motive was to display attractive ads on the PC screen for their personal benefits. Research says, this kind of activities seem to be part of the Custom Audience advertising service.