Twitter Beats Customer Data Disclosure Suit For Now

On Tuesday, Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim granted Twitter’s bid to dismiss a consumer class action over its alleged misuse of customer information such as email addresses and phone numbers. The court agreed that the named plaintiff lacked standing to bring her California Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and breach of contract claims, but granted leave to amend.

The case dates to June when a Twitter user sued the company, alleging that between 2013 and 2019, it violated its own privacy policy by disclosing users’ telephone numbers and emails for advertising purposes without user consent and under the guise that it was for security purposes.

Twitter moved to dismiss the suit, arguing that users agree to the collection and use of their information for both security and marketing purposes. The motion also said the plaintiff lacked standing and that the pleading failed to provide critical underlying facts.

In this week’s opinion, Judge Kim partly agreed. The magistrate judge ruled that the disclosure of personal information alone does not create economic or property loss sufficient to establish UCL standing without specific allegations regarding the value of the information.

Calling the plaintiffs’ injury allegations “vague,” the court said that the pleading failed to demonstrate the value of the plaintiff’s telephone number or email address. “Plaintiff has not alleged that she could sell her phone number and email address or that it otherwise has economic value to her, as opposed to the value that Twitter gained by aggregating that data,” the opinion said.

Likewise, Judge Kim found that the plaintiff lacked standing to bring her breach of contract claim for the same reason. Lastly, the court also included a “brief discussion of some of Plaintiff’s additional deficiencies … to provide Plaintiff with some guidance for amendment.” Therein, the court suggested that the plaintiff clarify her theories of liability and certain facts undergirding her claims.

The plaintiff is represented by Morgan & Morgan Complex Litigation Group and Twitter by Latham & Watkins LLP.