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Twitter shares users location data with third party

In Summary

• Users can view and change their privacy settings in the Twitter iOS app by tapping their profile image, clicking 'Settings and privacy' and then 'Privacy and safety.'

People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo. /REUTERS
People holding mobile phones are silhouetted against a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo. /REUTERS

Twitter has apologized after a bug resulted in the sharing of location data from iOS devices. 

The social media site said it discovered it was 'inadvertently collecting and sharing iOS location data with one of our trusted partners in certain circumstances.'

Twitter said the location data has not been retained and has since been deleted.

The bug affected users that had multiple accounts on Twitter's iOS app and opted into a feature sharing their precise location in one account. 

'We may have accidentally collected location data when you were using any other account(s) on that same device for which you had not turned on the precise location feature,' the company said. 

Twitter also said it accidentally sent user location data to a 'trusted partner' during the 'real time bidding' advertising process.

Location data that was shared wasn't 'precise' and it was 'fuzzed' to only include data like zip codes and cities accurate within a five-kilometer-squared area, the firm added.

'This location data could not be used to determine an address or to map your precise movements,' the company explained.

'The partner did not receive data such as your Twitter handle or other unique account IDs that could have compromised your identity on Twitter.'

Twitter confirmed the information was not retained, adding it 'only existed in their systems for a short time, and was then deleted as part of their normal process.'

Nevertheless, Twitter apologized for the bug. It's unclear how many users were affected a result of it or exactly how long the information was collected for.

'We have fixed this problem and are working hard to make sure it does not happen again,' the firm explained.

'We have also communicated with the people whose accounts were impacted to let them know the bug has been fixed.

'...We’re very sorry this happened. We recognize and appreciate the trust you place in us and are committed to earning that trust every day.'

Users can view and change their privacy settings in the Twitter iOS app by tapping their profile image, clicking 'Settings and privacy' and then 'Privacy and safety.'

From there, scroll down to the heading labeled 'Location' and make sure 'Precise location' is disabled.