Twitter Fixes iOS Bug That Accidentally Stored and Shared Location Data

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Apr 12, 2001
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Twitter today announced that it has addressed an iOS bug that caused the service to inadvertently collect and share location data.

On the Twitter support site, Twitter says that for iOS users who had more than one account on Twitter and opted into sharing location information on one account, location data may have been collected when using any other account on the same device, even if location features were not activated.

Twitter also says that some of that location data was mistakenly sent to one of its advertising partners, but the data was "fuzzed" so that only zipcode or city data was shared. The location data was not able to map precise movements nor was it tied to Twitter handle.
Separately, we had intended to remove location data from the fields sent to a trusted partner during an advertising process known as real-time bidding. This removal of location did not happen as planned. However, we had implemented technical measures to "fuzz" the data shared so that it was no more precise than zip code or city (5km squared).

This location data could not be used to determine an address or to map your precise movements. The partner did not receive data such as your Twitter handle or other unique account IDs that could have compromised your identity on Twitter. This means that for people using Twitter for iOS who we inadvertently collected location information from, we may also have shared that information with a trusted advertising partner.
Twitter says that its partner did not retain the location data and it was only available on their systems for a short time before it was deleted.

Due to a bug in Twitter for iOS, we inadvertently collected and shared location data (at the zip code or city level). We have fixed the bug, but we wanted to make sure we shared more of the context around this with you. More here: https://t.co/n04LNt62Sa - Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) May 13, 2019

The bug that caused the inadvertent data collection has been fixed and Twitter says it is "working hard to make sure it does not happen again." People with accounts who were impacted with this issue are being notified.

Article Link: Twitter Fixes iOS Bug That Accidentally Stored and Shared Location Data
 

nt5672

macrumors 68000
Jun 30, 2007
1,922
4,055
Yep, they just accidentally created a column in the database for location and just accidentally populated it with user data. Happens all the time.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,575
4,005
Yep, they just accidentally created a column in the database for location and just accidentally populated it with user data. Happens all the time.
Not at all. They spelled it out pretty well - people can opt to have their location collected. That's supposed to be on a per-account basis, but they were accidentally persisting it on a per-device basis. Seems like a reasonable mistake to me.

They meant to only share some fields with advertisers. They accidentally shared an additional field. Again, totally reasonable mistake.

Yeah, if they didn't mean to collect the data at all, it'd be weird to have the column in their database and have it populated, but since it was supposed to be conditionally collected, it's not at all weird that they messed up the conditions, and since other data was being shared, it's not weird that they forgot to strip out one of the columns from the results.
 

JetTester

macrumors 6502
Feb 12, 2014
461
881
Hmm, according to the article title, one would be led to believe that the bug is in iOS, yet Twitter fixed it. Sounds to me more like it was a bug in Twitter's iOS software.
 
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