Twitter sorry for mistakenly storing and sharing some users’ location data

Twitter revealed on Tuesday, May 14 that it inadvertently collected location data from some of its users and shared it with an advertising partner. The bug has now been fixed.

The company declined to reveal how many people had been affected, and how long it had been collecting the data. The name of the partner was also withheld. It did, however, offer some details on the nature of the bug, as well as information on which users may have had their location data exposed.

“Specifically, if you used more than one account on Twitter for iOS and opted into using the precise location feature 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 wrote in a post.

Twitter said it shared the location data with an advertising partner after it failed to remove it from information sent to that partner for the purposes of real-time bidding, a process where businesses pay for ad space based on a user’s location at any given time.

It said the removal of the location data “did not happen as planned,” although it did manage to implement measures that obscured the shared data so that the location was no more precise than an area of five square kilometers.

In other words, the location data wasn’t specific enough to reveal a specific address, or to map exact movements. In a bid to further reassure its community, Twitter said the partner that received the data did not have access to Twitter names or other information linked to a profile. According to Twitter, the shared location data was only held for a short time by the partner before being deleted as part of its normal routine.

The San Francisco, California-based company said it was “very sorry” about the blunder and is “working hard to make sure it does not happen again.” It added that it has contacted users whose accounts were impacted to let them know that the bug has now been fixed.

For peace of mind, the company suggested users take a moment to check their privacy settings “to make sure you’re only sharing the data you want to with us.” You can do so by tapping on your profile photo, then on Settings, and then on Privacy. Scroll down the page to look for the Precise Location entry, which should be set to disabled if you want to hide your location.

At the start of 2019, Twitter admitted to another bug that had exposed the protected tweets of some Android users since 2015. It fixed that bug, but as a precaution urged anyone with an Android device who’d set their account to private to review their settings to make sure their tweets were still protected.

Product Review

Samsung's $99 fitness tracker takes on Fitbit. Can it keep pace?

Samsung’s going toe-to-toe against Fitbit’s Inspire HR with its own $99 fitness tracker -- the Galaxy Fit. It also has a heart rate monitor, can automatically detect six workouts, and has a battery that can last for days.
Emerging Tech

Your smartphone could be the key to predicting natural disasters

A challenge for atmospheric scientists is gathering enough data to understand the complex, planet-wide weather system. Now a scientist has come up with a clever idea to gather more data using smartphones and Internet of Things devices.
Mobile

Samsung dismisses rumors of a revitalized Galaxy Fold launching in July

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is real, but for how long? Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Computing

Dropbox’s all-new desktop app wants to be your one and only workspace

Dropbox has unveiled its most significant update yet as it continues to move away from its original core service as a place to store files in the cloud, toward a virtual workspace solution that offers all services in-app.
Social Media

Here's how to link your Instagram, Facebook accounts for social syncing

Instagram and Facebook go hand in hand. Here's how you can make the most of the superior integration offered by the two social media behemoths, which should help your pics gain more exposure in the long run.
Social Media

These are the best ways to make your own animated GIF to share

Love sharing GIFs with your friends and peers, but wish you could make your own? Here's how to do so in Photoshop, or using a few other methods that don't require you to shell out a premium fee with each calendar year.
Social Media

Facebook will pay to spy on you, but you can make more money elsewhere

Facebook's new Study app will track how you use your phone and provide that data to the social media giant. The company will even pay you for it — but likely not very much, especially compared to the market rate for your personal…
Social Media

Zuckerberg may have known more about Facebook’s privacy scandal than we thought

In the midst of an ongoing investigation into Facebook's Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, a new report suggests that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg may have known about the company's much-criticized approach to privacy.
Mobile

Bored with your Snapchat username? Here's how to change it

We've all been there. You're setting up a new account and just type in whatever pops into your head as a username. Then, later on, you realize that was a mistake. Here's how to change your Snapchat username.
Mobile

Get together with your buddies, talk, and play games with Snapchat's group chat

You can get your friends together for a good time, even if they are hundreds of miles away, by starting up a group chat on Snapchat. Here's how to make a group chat on Snapchat and get the party started.
Cars

Tesla screens may support YouTube with next software update

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced today at E3 that the infotainment screens will support YouTube video streaming very soon. This most likely lines up with the latest software update that is expected later this year.
Social Media

Instagram is back up after being offline. Here’s the latest on the outage

Instagram finally came back online Thursday afternoon after an outage that lasted just over an hour. The Instagram outage was one of several that hit at the same time, including a several-hour failure at the PlayStation Network.
Social Media

Facebook’s comment-ranking system aimed at taming the dumpster fire

Even by the standards of the internet, Facebook comments are famously awful. Now Facebook is introducing a new comment ranking system to attempt to tackle this problem by promoting quality comments and hiding low quality ones.
Photography

Adobe concocts an A.I. that can detect — and reverse — manipulated photos

The company behind the software that's often used to manipulate photographs may help make it easy to spot a fake photo. Researchers at Adobe recently created an artificially intelligent program that can recognize fake photos of faces.