cross-posted from:

Twitter published an apology on Wednesday after it was caught covertly using account security data for targeted advertising.

The social media giant admitted that for several years, users were asked to provide a phone number or email address to secure or authenticate their accounts. Twitter then used that information for targeted advertising, according to a complaint filed by the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission.

In May, the company agreed to pay a $150 million fine to settle the complaint, which alleged that Twitter violated a previous order “by collecting customers’ personal information for the stated purpose of security and then exploiting it commercially.”