Twitter Gets Light Punishment from FTC for Hacks

Twitter is out of hot water with the Federal Trade Commission after fixing holes in its security which let users impersonate President Barack Obama and the official Twitter feed of Fox News.

“A company that allows consumers to designate their information as private must use reasonable security to uphold such designations,” David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement today. “Consumers who use social networking sites may choose to share some information with others, but they still have a right to expect that their personal information will be kept private and secure.”

The FTC became involved after a hacker was able to break into a Twitter employee’s personal email account and use passwords stored inside to guess their Twitter administrative log-in information. The FTC said this gave the hacker the potential to “access private user information and tweets for any Twitter users.”

The terms of the settlement amounts to probation, prohibiting Twitter from misleading users about privacy protections for 20 years and establish an information security program which will be subject to yearly third-party oversight for the next 10 years.

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