The incidents in 2009 involved hackers breaking into the administrative backend of Twitter and gaining access to employee passwords. They then used those passwords to take over over 50 Twitter accounts, including those of Britney Spears, Ashton Kutcher, Fox News, Barack Obama and others.
The hacker was able to post tweets from these accounts, as well as read private messages and view who was on the Twitterati’s block lists.
In the settlement, Twitter has agreed to establish a rigorous security program which would be independently audited, at Twitter’s expense, every two years for the next ten years. Breaches to this agreement will cost Twitter upwards of $16,000 each.