Twitter hit with lawsuit alleging data privacy violations following penalty from DOJ and FTC

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Twitter is facing a new lawsuit involving its alleged “surreptitious and undisclosed” use of people’s data, following revelations about the social media company’s actions identified by the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission.

The Justice Department and FTC ordered Twitter to pay $150 million in civil penalties last month over alleged data privacy violations occurring between 2013 and 2019, which involved the collection of phone numbers and emails for security purposes that the agencies said were also used for companies to send targeted ads.

A Maryland woman, Lauren Price, sued Twitter this week in a proposed class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Ms. Price alleged breach of contract regarding Twitter’s terms of service, breach of implied contract, violations of unfair competition law and unjust enrichment in a lawsuit filed by the injury law firm Morgan & Morgan.

“Twitter’s ‘unfair’ acts and practices include its misrepresentations regarding, and failure to disclose the purposes for which it was collecting and utilizing, the personal information, as described above, and its subsequent use of that information for profit,” the lawsuit read. “Plaintiff and class members have suffered injury-in-fact, including the loss of money and/or property as a result of Twitter’s unfair and/or unlawful practices, to wit, the unauthorized disclosure and use of their personal information which has value as demonstrated by its use for targeted advertising by Twitter.”

The proposed class-action lawsuit references the FTC’s previous complaint to support its allegations. According to a federal judge’s order following Twitter’s settlement with the federal government, Twitter only agreed that the FTC’s allegations in the complaint would be understood as true for litigation brought by the U.S. government.

Twitter declined to comment on Ms. Price’s proposed class-action lawsuit.

Questions about Twitter’s truthfulness have dogged the company in recent weeks. In May, billionaire Elon Musk said his looming takeover of Twitter was on hold pending details to support the company’s claims about how many users were people versus fake or spam accounts.

Mr. Musk later reiterated his commitment to the takeover and Twitter acknowledged challenges in measuring its number of active users in a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last month.

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