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Twitter Being Probed by US FTC Over Ad Targeting Practices

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is probing Twitter for alleged violations of a law that prevents the social network from using personal data provided for security purposes to target ads, the company disclosed on Monday. In a regulatory filing, Twitter said it received a draft FTC complaint alleging violations between 2013 and 2019.

Twitter said it estimates probable loss of between $150 million (roughly Rs. 1,127 crores) and $250 million (roughly Rs. 1,878 crores) in settlement charges, and has already recorded $150 million (roughly Rs. 1,127 crores) of that estimate in accrual related to the allegations.

Last week, US officials said a 17-year-old Florida boy masterminded the hacking of celebrity accounts on Twitter, including those of US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk. A 19-year-old British man and a 22-year-old man in Orlando, Florida were also charged under US federal law with aiding the attack, the US Justice Department said.

A Florida prosecutor identified the 17-year-old as Graham Clark of Tampa and charged him as an adult with 30 felony counts of fraud. Clark netted at least $100,000 (roughly Rs 75,15,000) from the scheme by using the celebrity accounts to solicit investments from unsuspecting Twitter users, state officials said.

In the hack, fraudulent tweets soliciting investments in the digital currency bitcoin were posted in mid-July by 45 verified Twitter accounts, including those belonging to Biden, former US President Barack Obama, and billionaire Bill Gates. Twitter said the hackers also likely read some direct messages including to a Dutch elected official.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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