While there is no doubt the tide has turned when it comes to social media giants protecting user data, there is clearly still a long way to go.
Both Twitter and Facebook have fessed up to problems with some of their ad tech solutions and partners this week, prompting questions around the effectiveness of current safeguards.
Twitter’s dilemma stems from an issue with mobile ads on the platform sharing unsolicited information.
“If you clicked or viewed an advertisement for a mobile application and subsequently interacted with the mobile application since May 2018, we may have shared certain data (e.g., country code, if you engaged with the ad and when, information about the ad, etc) with trusted measurement and advertising partners, even if you didn’t give us permission to do so,” the company said in a statement.
Twitter also admitted, “we may have shown you ads based on inferences we made about the devices you use, even if you did not give us permission to do so”.
The company confirmed the problems have now been resolved, as of 5 August, and that it is investigating which users were impacted by the leak.
Over at Facebook, it has been reported by Business Insider the social media giant’s photo-sharing platform Instagram has issued a cease and desist letter to marketing startup Hyp3r that was found to be improperly collecting data from users.
According to reports, Hyp3r was able to collect and store information from Instagram user’s profiles and stories, such as their location, and then shared this data with clients to create more targeted ads.
Instagram had previously listed Hyp3r as a “preferred marketing partner”.
Despite the cease and desist, Hyp3r denies any wrongdoing, telling Business Insider it had played within Instagram’s rules.
“Hyp3r is, and has always been, a company that enables authentic, delightful marketing that is compliant with consumer privacy regulations and social network Terms of Services,” Hyp3r CEO Carlos Garcia said.
“We do not view any content or information that cannot be accessed publicly by everyone online.”