Twitter accidentally shared user data with advertisers

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Twitter unintentionally shared user location data with a third party, on two separate occasions, but fixed the issue relatively fast.

Announcing the news in a blog post, the company said a bug in its systems resulted in the collection and sharing of location data of certain iOS users.

“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,” the company explained.

In a separate incident, the company said its advertising process, real-time bidding, has location data that usually gets deleted before the rest of the intel gets sent to ‘a trusted partner’. This time, the removal ‘did not happen as planned’, but Twitter managed to scramble the data in a way that makes it impossible to pinpoint the exact location, or handle, of the user.

The third party received data about user locations in a five-kilometre radius.

“This location data could not be used to determine an address or to map your precise movements,” it was added.

The data itself was not used by the unnamed third party, and was subsequently deleted from the systems. Twitter apologised for the incident, saying it also started notifying affected users about the data leak.

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