2022 – The US government sues Twitter for misleading its users and failing to ensure user privacy

Twitter has grabbed the headlines lately, first with its deal with Elon Musk (a deal with no apparent result), and now the social media platform is being sued. 9to5Mac reports that the US government has sued Twitter for alleged misrepresentation in its use of user data for advertising.

Twitter is being sued for misleading users about their data

The lawsuit we’re talking about has been filed Northern District of California. The issue the lawsuit addresses is how Twitter manages users’ contact information and how the social media giant has failed to inform its users how it is using that data for targeted advertising. In the lawsuit, the US government is focusing on the period between May 2013 and September 2019. According to the allegations in the lawsuit, Twitter misled its users during the above period, providing data such as phone numbers and email addresses only for use in protecting their Twitter accounts.

You may have an idea where this leads us. Yes, while users have been informed that this data is used to protect their accounts, it has also been 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 Twitter employees did not access Tweets and direct messages from protected accounts.

For more details, the complaint focuses on the fact that Twitter deceived its users by misrepresenting the control they might have over their accounts. For example, Twitter has stated that users can send private direct messages that only the recipient can view. The problem, according to the lawsuit, is that the social media giant lacks safeguards to ensure it does so, allegedly not restricting employee access to non-public user information based on an individual’s job needs.

And what does all this mean? Well, if these claims were true, Twitter would have violated the 2011 Federal Trade Commission Act and Regulations. The legislation prohibits the company from making false claims about the security of non-public consumer information.

The lawsuit seeks “civil penalties” for the violations listed above, as well as a permanent injunction to ensure Twitter is not violating the law.

Twitter seems to be in deep water lately

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard about the situation with Elon Musk and his offer to buy Twitter outright and make the social media company private. But even this is not without problems. Elon Musk Offered $44 Billion To Buy Twitter, But That’s Then The billionaire halted the deal, saying he could not move forward until Twitter provided clear numbers on how many active users were in fact fake accounts created by the bots.

The deal is now on hold indefinitely and it is unclear whether it will go ahead. On the other hand, Jack Dorsey, who resigned as CEO of Twitter last year, decided to leave the Twitter board of directors. Jack Dorsey is one of the co-founders of Twitter, and now the former CEO appears to be tired of staying connected to the social media platform.

As you can probably see, Twitter has struggled a bit so far. On top of that, Elon Musk once again decided to voice his concerns in…well, in the form of a tweet of course. He responded to today’s tweet regarding the aforementioned misrepresentation of what users’ data is being used for, saying he thought the results were “extremely disturbing news”.