Twitter allowed 2FA data for filtering sponsored ad audiences

Twitter 2FA mobile phone numbers and email addresses made reachable for Partner Audiences and Tailor Audiences advertising services

Twitter involves in ad targetting services. 2FA phone numbers usedAdvertising services got on hold of 2FA phone numbers and email addresses due to a bug in Twitter systems

One of the most popular communication networks Twitter claims to have found a bug in their services which enabled users' email addresses and phone numbers to be approachable for two advertising services – Partner Audiences and Tailor Audiences:[1]

We recently discovered that when you provided an email address or phone number for safety or security purposes (for example, two-factor authentication) this data may have inadvertently been used for advertising purposes, specifically in our Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences advertising system.

The emails and mobile phone numbers that became visible to various advertisers were the same ones that users have entered in the multi-factor protection section in order to boost up their accounts security levels.[2] This time people did not have a choice to avoid targetted advertisements.

The company claims that no other private information got involved in this incident

Twitter is stating that they did not get involved in such activities intentionally.[3] The bug has been fixed on September 17 and Twitter accounts are no longer providing advertisers with user contact information.[4] According to the company, no other user-based information was revealed.

Twitter officially apologized to all people for this incident and claims that there is no accurate information on the number of people who were affected. However, the company is looking forward to informing everybody just in case.

Both Tailor Audiences and Partner Audiences allow third-parties to display targeted adverts on various platforms. If you have provided your original mobile phone number and email address while ensuring the two-factor authentication,[5] do not be surprised to receive some beneficial-looking deals and offers of various products/services. However, we do not recommend taking such offers seriously.

Some developers just seak to gain income from their targeted advertisements by promoting various software. Do not purchase any type of program if it provides some concerns to you or includes bad user reviews.

Facebook also failed to secure users' phone numbers and email addresses in 2018

Twitter is not the first platform that fails to protect user emails and phone numbers. Facebook also was guilty of the exact same incident. Last year, Facebook was exposing this type of information to advertisers that are interested in loading computer screens with targeted adverts. According to research, such activities appeared to be a part of the Custom Audience advertising service.

Custom Audience and Facebook can work here foot by foot. The services enable third-parties that are involved in advertising activities to update information about their users which includes mobile phone numbers, email addresses, and birthdates. Later on, the Facebook platform is capable of matching the gathered results with the information that it holds on its servers and ad targetting services become a success.

The main issue about such information used is the users' worries about where the data will travel or can it get accidentally exposed. As already known, personal data exposure brings really bad consequences – identity theft, malware attacks, etc.

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate web researcher

Gabriel E. Hall is a passionate malware researcher who has been working for 2-spyware for almost a decade.

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