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Twitter Faces Up To $250M FTC Fine Over Allegedly Using Private Data For Targeted Advertising

Shivdeep Dhaliwal

Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) revealed Monday the United States Federal Trade Commission could impose a fine of up to $250 million on the social media company for allegedly using private user information for targeted advertising.

Twitter Violated User Privacy, Complaint Says

The Jack Dorsey-led company faces allegations that it used personal information, such as phone numbers and email addresses, provided by users to enhance their accounts' security, to served targeted ads, it said in a second-quarter financial filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

This practice was prevelant between 2013 and 2019, according to a draft complaint that the FTC shared with the social media firm on July 28.

Twitter said it estimated to take a loss of between $150 million to $250 million due to this complaint, and "has recorded an accrual of $150.0 million."

The San Francisco-based company added it has included the accrual and other liabilities in its consolidated balance sheet and stated that the matter remains unresolved.

Platform Hack May Erode User Trust, Twitter Warns 

Twitter also touched on the security breach on its platform last month that affected several high-profile users, including Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates and Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk.

“This security breach may have harmed the people and accounts affected by it," the Dorsey-led company noted.

"It may also impact the market perception of the effectiveness of our security measures, and people may lose trust and confidence in us, decrease the use of our products and services or stop using our products and services in their entirety.”

A 17-year old from Tampa, Florida, is accused of being involved in the July attack on Twitter, CNBC reported earlier. The company has claimed crucial information was extracted from employees in a "spear phishing" attack.

Price Action 

Twitter shares traded 1.76% lower at $35.75 in the after-hours session Monday.

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