Twitter sued in Israel for $37 million for misusing personal data

The lawsuit claims that Twitter misled 250,000 Israeli users about how it protected their privacy. 

By World Israel News Staff

Twitter is being sued for 125 million NIS ($37.5 million) in a class action lawsuit that claims a quarter of a million users of the social media platform in Israel had their data exploited for commercial use.

The Israeli lawsuit, filed by the law firm of David Or Chen, comes on the heels of a settlement between the U.S. Justice Department and Twitter, in which the social media giant agreed to pay a $150 million penalty for misleading users about how it maintained and protected their privacy and security.

According to the federal lawsuit, Twitter violated a 2011 Federal Trade Commission order by failing to disclose to consumers that it was using their contact details to aid targeted advertising between May 2013 and September 2019.

“This practice affected more than 140 million Twitter users, while boosting Twitter’s primary source of revenue,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said in a statement last month.

Justice Department officials noted that of the US$3.4 billion in revenue that Twitter earned in 2019, about US$3 billion, was from advertising, the Reuters news agency reported.

The Israeli plaintiffs claim that Twitter’s deception also affected users in Israel between 2013 and 2019.

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Twitter led users to “assume that it was acting in accordance with the law and the agreements between the two parties by guaranteeing that personal data would remain confidential. By disclosing those details to third parties, it violated its obligation to new users,” the plaintiffs wrote, according to the Hebrew-language Israel Hayom daily.

The sum of 125 million shekels was reached by calculating a 500 NIS ($150) compensation for each plaintiff. Approximately 250,000 Israelis, comprising 5% of the country’s adult population, have Twitter accounts.