The embarrassing oversight comes at a time when the social media industry is under pressure like never before to get a handle on data protection issues, and is believed to have arisen due to complications with the website’s settings.
This meant that certain personal data such as the country code may have been shared with advertisers in certain cases where people interacted with an ad. Twitter also admitted that it may have shown ads based on inferences made about the individual where no permission existed to do so.
Twitter stresses it only discovered the issue recently and moved immediately to rectify the problem, but has yet to ascertain the number of people who may have been affected.
In a statement, the service wrote: “You trust us to follow your choices and we failed here. We’re sorry this happened, and are taking steps to make sure we don’t make a mistake like this again.”
Re-establishing trust has become central to the social sector in light of numerous scandals with Facebook addressing issues of its own around electoral interference, misinformation, privacy and data and data management.