Twitter is Using Your Phone Number for Ad Targeting

Last year Facebook faced a great deal of criticism as well as numerous fines for providing certain advertisers with the phone numbers of a few users that were then used in order to make targeted ad campaigns based on this data. It seems like Twitter is guilty of the same thing, with information coming out that has made it clear that a number of advertisers got access to user phone numbers which they then used in order to facilitate a greater amount of targeting in the ad campaigns that they were trying to create.

Twitter has admitted to this, also stating that this only happened because of an error that ended up providing phone number data to companies that asked for specific marketing information. However, whether or not this was done intentionally is not the point. Phone numbers should only ever be used for two factor authentication purposes, and this information is supposed to be kept as safe as possible so that users can trust that the platform has their best interests at heart.

Since Facebook faced a great deal of criticism and fines for something similar last year, it is very possible that lawmakers and regulators would want to take a look at this. This could potentially be a huge issue for Twitter to overcome, though only time will tell whether or not this is going to have a big impact on its future.


It should be noted that Twitter has fixed this issue in September, and that the fix should make it impossible for companies to access this data again. While Twitter’s speedy solution to this issue is admirable, many would say that the damage has already been done, and that Twitter should have taken steps to prevent such a problem from occurring in the first place.

Twitter said in a blog post that, "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."
Photo: AP

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