Twitter Faces $250M FTC Fine

August 6, 2020

On July 28, 2020, Twitter received a draft complaint from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleging violations of Twitter’s 2011 consent order with the FTC and the FTC Act. The allegations relate to the Twitter’s use of phone number and/or email address data provided for safety and security purposes for targeted advertising during periods between 2013 and 2019.

Twitter estimates that the range of probable loss in this matter is $150.0 million to $250.0 million and has recorded an accrual of $150.0 million. The accrual is included in accrued and other current liabilities in the consolidated balance sheet and in general and administrative expenses in the consolidated statements of operations. The matter remains unresolved, and there can be no assurance as to the timing or the terms of any final outcome.

Twitter is also currently involved in, and may in the future be involved in, legal proceedings, claims, investigations, and government inquiries and investigations arising in the ordinary course of business.

These proceedings, which include both individual and class action litigation and administrative proceedings, have included, but are not limited to matters involving content on the platform, intellectual property, privacy, data protection, securities, employment and contractual rights. Legal fees and other costs associated with such actions are expensed as incurred. Twitter assesses, in conjunction with its legal counsel, the need to record a liability for litigation and contingencies.

Litigation accruals are recorded when and if it is determined that a loss related matter is both probable and reasonably estimable. Material loss contingencies that are reasonably possible of occurrence, if any, are subject to disclosure. As of June 30, 2020, except for the above referenced class actions, derivative actions and FTC matter, there was no litigation or contingency with at least a reasonable possibility of a material loss.

Except for the aforementioned accrual of $150.0 million recorded in relation to the FTC matter, no other material losses were recorded during the three and six months ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 with respect to litigation or loss contingencies.

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