This is not the comforting statement Facebook users were looking for. Facebook says most of its 2 billion users may have had personal data scraped. The world’s largest social network is already in a crisis over privacy and this will only worsen the issue.
From a blog post by Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer:
Until today, people could enter another person’s phone number or email address into Facebook search to help find them. This has been especially useful for finding your friends in languages which take more effort to type out a full name, or where many people have the same name. In Bangladesh, for example, this feature makes up 7% of all searches. However, malicious actors have also abused these features to scrape public profile information by submitting phone numbers or email addresses they already have through search and account recovery. Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way. So we have now disabled this feature. We’re also making changes to account recovery to reduce the risk of scraping as well.
This is in addition to the 87 million users who may have been affected by the leak of personal information to Cambridge Analytica. A number that has grown a great deal since the initial estimates.
More on this, per Business Insider:
Facebook has been reeling since a whistleblower disclosed that Cambridge Analytica had managed to get hold of user data and used it to target voters with emotional and divisive messages during the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.
Schroepfer disclosed the new information about privacy compromises on Wednesday in a post describing changes the company has made to its service, to better protect users’ personal data.
“We believe these changes will better protect people’s information while still enabling developers to create useful experiences,” he said in the post. “We know we have more work to do — and we’ll keep you updated as we make more changes”
Facebook is having some serious issues with privacy. This company has access to such a huge amount of information that it’s very important they get these issues addressed immediately.
On Monday Facebook will be rolling out a feature that lets users know whether or not they were affected by the data leak.