US government sues Twitter over misleading its users and failing to ensure user privacy

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US government sues Twitter over misleading its users and failing to ensure user privacy
Twitter has been in the headlines recently, first with the deal with Elon Musk (a deal with, so far, an unclear outcome), and now, the social media platform is getting sued. 9to5Mac reports that the US government has filed a lawsuit against Twitter over alleged misleading of how user data is used for advertising.

Twitter is being sued for misleading users about their data


The lawsuit we are talking about here was filed in the Northern District of California. The issue that the lawsuit is targeting is how Twitter manages users' contact information, and how the social media giant has failed to inform its users about how this data is used for targeted ads.

In the lawsuit, the US government focuses on the time period between May 2013 and September 2019. According to the allegations in the lawsuit, Twitter has been misleading its users during the mentioned above time period, stating that data such as phone numbers and email addresses is used exclusively to protect their Twitter accounts.

You may be guessing where this is leading to. Yes, despite informing users this data is for protecting their accounts, it was also used to help advertisers reach Twitter users.

But the allegations in the lawsuit don't stop there. The US government also notes that Twitter failed to ensure that tweets and DMs from protected accounts were inaccessible to Twitter employees.

To dive more into the specifics, the complaint focuses on the fact that Twitter has deceived its users by misrepresenting what control they could have over their accounts. For example, Twitter was stating that users can send private direct messages that could only be viewed by the recipient. The problem is, according to the lawsuit, that the social media giant lacked safeguards to ensure this, and it had allegedly not restricted employee access to nonpublic user info based on a person's job requirements.

And what does this all mean? Well, it means if those allegations are true, that Twitter would have violated the FTC Act and Order of 2011. The legislation prohibits a company from making misrepresentations regarding the security of nonpublic consumer information.


The lawsuit is seeking "civil penalties" for the violations mentioned above, as well as a permanent injunction to ensure that Twitter won't violate the law anymore.

Twitter seems to be in deep water recently


If you haven't been living under a rock, you probably have heard about the situation with Elon Musk, and his bid to buy off the entirety of Twitter, making the social media company a private company. However, this too is not going without any issues.

Elon Musk bid $44 billion to buy Twitter, but then the multi-billionaire put the deal on hold, stating it cannot move forward until Twitter provided clear numbers on how many of its active users were actually fake accounts created by bots.

So far, the deal is on indefinite hold, and it is unclear whether it will move forward or not. On the other hand, Jack Dorsey, who last year stepped off of the CEO position of Twitter, has now decided to leave the Twitter board of directors. Jack Dorsey is a co-founder of Twitter and now it seems the ex-CEO has no desire to remain affiliated with the social media platform.

As you can probably see, Twitter has somewhat been struggling so far. On top of it all, Elon Musk has decided again to express his concerns in... well, in a form of a tweet, of course. He replied today to a tweet concerning the mentioned above misrepresentation of what the users' data is used for, and he stated that he considers the findings to be 'very concerning news'.


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