Twitter settles data privacy complaint with FTC

Share this content:

Microblogging site Twitter settled Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived customers and put their privacy at risk by failing to safeguard their personal data. It marks the first time the FTC has brought a data security case against a social network.

The FTC claimed that serious lapses in Twitter's data security allowed hackers to gain control of Twitter accounts, then send out phony Tweets pretending to be others, according to a statement from the agency.

Twitter is banned from misleading consumers about the extent to which it maintains and protects their security, privacy and confidentiality for 20 years. The company must also establish and maintain an IT security program, which must be checked by a third party every other year for a decade.

Twitter said on its corporate blog that the attacks took place in early 2009, “when Twitter employed less than 50 people,” and that it has already implemented security procedures.

“Even before the agreement, we'd implemented many of the FTC's suggestions and the agreement formalizes our commitment to those security practices,” the company said on its corporate blog.

Marketers have turned to Twitter in the past year to reach consumers. The social network changed its terms of service last September to allow for advertising on the platform. In April, it launched the Promoted Tweets marketing service, with marketers including Starbucks, Best Buy and Virgin America among its first users.

A number of companies have also released Twitter measurement and analytics tools in recent months.

Augie Ray, senior analyst at Forrester, said the settlement is generally “a non-event for Twitter.”

“Twitter users do not have the same general level of concern about privacy as do those on Facebook, although of course everyone cares about maintaining security around user profiles, access and passwords,” he said via e-mail. “But given the small number of accounts affected and the fact Twitter security has generally been good and reliable, I don't believe today's news will have any significant impact on Twitter.”

Representatives from Twitter and the FTC did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Since 1985, Melissa has helped thousands of companies clean, correct and complete contact data to better target and communicate with their customers. We offer a full spectrum of data quality solutions, including global address, phone, email, and name validation, identify verification - available for batch or real-time processes, in the Cloud or on-premise. Our service bureau provides dedupe, email/phone append and geographic/demographic append services for better targeting and insight. For direct mailers, Melissa offers easy-to-use address management/postal software, list hygiene services and 100s of specialty mailing lists - all with competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here