Twitter 'Unintentionally' Used Some Customer Data Provided for Account Security for Advertising Purposes


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Twitter's support account today announced that Twitter used some customer email addresses and phone numbers that were provided for account security for advertising purposes, which Twitter says was done "unintentionally."

More specifically, email addresses and phone numbers were used in Twitter's Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences advertising systems. Tailored Audiences is a feature that's designed to let advertisers target ads to customers based on the advertiser's marketing lists, while Partner Audiences is similar.

According to Twitter, when an advertiser uploaded a marketing list, it "may have matched" people on Twitter to their list based on the email or phone number the Twitter account holder provided for security purposes.

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: - Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) October 8, 2019

Twitter says that it "cannot say with certainty" how many people were affected, and the company has issued an apology. "We're very sorry this happened and are taking steps to make sure we don't make a mistake like this again," reads a help document.

Personal data was not provided externally with partners or other third parties, and as of September 17, the issue has been fixed and phone numbers and email addresses collected for account security are no longer being used for advertising.

Article Link: Twitter 'Unintentionally' Used Some Customer Data Provided for Account Security for Advertising Purposes


macrumors regular
Apr 28, 2010
Strange that despite all the tracking and metrics they have, they can’t identify a subset of affected accounts. Do we just assume it could be all of ours until proven otherwise?


macrumors 6502a
Nov 14, 2012
In another other industry they would be investigated. It seems tech companies can hide behind "Its was just a bug".

"oopsie whoopsie plz forgive us"
Last edited:

Analog Kid

macrumors 601
Mar 4, 2003
People should go to jail for these lies. No corporate shield. Individual accountability.
Or at least fine the company strongly enough to discourage this kind of thing... Whenever penalties are doled out, they’re low enough to be seen as a cost of doing business. They need to be cripplingly high if they’re going to be a deterrent. They need to make shareholders revolt against management. They need to be at the “twice in a year and you‘re out of business” level.

Does the regulation make it prohibitively expensive to collect personal data? Then stop doing it.


macrumors 6502
Mar 5, 2012
Nothing these days is private anymore, once you get an internet connection, it is all over........
Only if you’re willfully lazy and careless. Lots of stuff is still private.

FYI: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn: optional. It was you who squandered your own privacy by enlisting the social media to do it. Also learn to avoid fads, they tend to be unhealthy and terrible for personal growth.

Choices matter, and the downside to making technology more accessible is that the careless and lazy continue being careless and lazy rather than using technology to actually enrich their lives.

Also I think these kind of defeatist sentiments are pathetic, you’ve got to defend your own rights, because nobody else is going to do it for you. Ultimately I have little sympathy for pandas that won’t bother to eat or mate for survival.
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