Twitter apologises for accidentally sharing location data of some users with advertising partner

Team Udayavani, May 14, 2019, 10:28 AM IST

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Things really aren’t going well for social media companies these days. One after the other, we hear about data breaches, unauthorized sharing of user data and a general lack of regulation in terms of what data social media companies can collect. The latest addition to this never-ending saga is Twitter, which has admitted that it accidentally shared the location data of some users with an advertising partner. And now Twitter has apologized.

“We’re very sorry this happened. We recognize and appreciate the trust you place in us and are committed to earning that trust every day,” the company has said in an official statement. Twitter is also taking pains to assure users that no personal identifiers such as the Twitter handle details, the unique account IDs or the user’s personal details were shared with the as yet unnamed advertising partner. They also say that the advertising partner did not ask for the data, had the data in their possession only for a short duration and was then deleted as a part of a regular clean-up process.

It is believed that the Twitter for iOS app was impacted by this unauthorized sharing of location. “If you used more than one account on Twitter for iOS and opted into using the precise location feature in one account, we may have accidentally collected location data when you were using any other account(s) on that same device for which you had not turned on the precise location feature,” says Twitter.

What is perhaps most interesting to note that it is now that Twitter finally says “we had intended to remove location data from the fields sent to a trusted partner during an advertising process known as real-time bidding.” The bigger question perhaps is that why was location even on that checklist of data being shared with advertising partners, and did users specifically know that their data may be shared for advertising purposes, even if for a certain duration and in some cases?

In the meantime, Twitter says they have fixed the issue, and promise to communicate individually with the accounts which had been compromised in this latest gaffe.

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