Twitter Settles Charges that it Failed to Protect Consumers' Personal Information
Originally published: June 24, 2010
Last updated: June 24, 2010 - 8:54pm
Twitter has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it deceived consumers and put their privacy at risk by failing to safeguard their personal information, marking the 30th case the FTC has brought targeting faulty data security, and the agency's first such case against a social networking service.
The FTC's complaint against Twitter charges that serious lapses in the company's data security allowed hackers to obtain administrative control of Twitter, including access to tweets that consumers had designated private, and the ability to send out phony tweets pretending to be from then-President-elect Barack Obama and Fox News, among others.
Under the terms of the settlement, Twitter will be barred for 20 years from misleading consumers about the extent to which it maintains and protects the security, privacy, and confidentiality of nonpublic consumer information, including the measures it takes to prevent authorized access to information and honor the privacy choices made by consumers. The company also must establish and maintain a comprehensive information security program, which will be assessed by a third party every other year for 10 years.
The FTC vote to accept the proposed consent agreement was 5-0. The FTC will publish an announcement regarding the agreement in the Federal Register shortly. The agreement will be subject to public comment for 30 days, continuing through July 26, 2010, after which the FTC will decide whether to make it final.