Even though human beings are by far the smartest species this world has ever seen, it doesn’t save our flaws from popping up on the surface time and time again. Now, you can argue that’s how we learn and become better, but at times, the stated dynamic can also cause some irreparable damage along the way, therefore forcing us to look for a foolproof defense mechanism. We will, on our part, find one as soon as we bring dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. The move was a resounding success, and we say so due to the manner in which it made us more protected than ever before. However, this newfound utopia didn’t last for a long time. You see, with technology taking over the entire landscape, the world was suddenly vulnerable beyond all limits. In case that itself wasn’t bad enough, the Big Tech companies would go on to further abuse the said element. Fortunately, though, the regulatory bodies are now coming back to reclaim their authority, and a recent settlement involving Twitter does a lot to prove it.
Twitter has formally reached a settlement worth $150 million with the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, as it looks to settle a lawsuit, which accused the company of deceptive practices. Filed in 2019, the lawsuit claimed that Twitter didn’t take the members’ consent before using their personal details like email addresses and phone numbers for targeted advertising. Talk about how the whole thing went down, the social media giant basically encouraged users to fill in their details for the purpose of two-factor authentication, when in reality; the said information was also going to a different destination. The violation reportedly occurred on a consistent basis between 2013 and 2019. Apart from the monetary punishment and some new compliance measures, Twitter is now notably obligated to accept extensive audits of its privacy program.
“The $150 million penalty reflects the seriousness of the allegations against Twitter, and the substantial new compliance measures to be imposed as a result of today’s proposed settlement will help prevent further misleading tactics that threaten users’ privacy,” said Vanita Gupta, Associate Attorney General.
Going back to the new compliance measures, the social media giant must maintain a comprehensive privacy and information security program moving forward. Next up, it is required to perform regular tests and audits of its overall security framework. Beyond these pointers, Twitter is also ordered to notify everyone, who joined Twitter before September 2019, about the settlement.
In response to the settlement, Twitter’s chief privacy officer, Damien Kieran said:
“Our settlement with the FTC reflects Twitter’s pre-existing commitments and investments in security and privacy,” Kieran tweeted. “We will continue to partner with our regulators to make sure they understand how security and privacy practices at Twitter are always evolving for the better.”
Twitter isn’t the first social media platform to face such allegations. Back in 2019, FTC fined Facebook a whopping $5 billion for similar violations.