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Facebook: personal data of 267 million users exposed on internet


Atta Ur Rehman KhanWeb Editor & Columnist

20th Dec, 2019. 09:18 pm
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Facebook

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook on Thursday (Dec 19) said it is investigating a report that a database containing names and phone numbers of more than 267 million users was exposed online.

The database was made available for download last week on an online hacker forum that apparently belonged to a crime group, according to a blog post on the website Comparitech, BOL News learnt.

“We are looking into this issue, but believe this is likely information obtained before changes we made in the past few years to better protect people’s information,” a Facebook spokesperson told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Revelation of the exposed data comes as the social network strives to rebuild trust and alleviate concerns over protection of people’s information.

US regulators earlier this month said that British consultancy Cambridge Analytica — at the center of a massive scandal involving Facebook data hijacking — deceived the social network’s users about how it collected and handled their personal information.

The Federal Trade Commission said its investigation launched in March 2018 concluded that the now-defunct political consulting firm “engaged in deceptive practices to harvest personal information from tens of millions of Facebook users for voter profiling and targeting.”

The FTC said the British firm, which worked on Donald Trump’s 2016 US presidential campaign, made “false and misleading” claims when it offered Facebook users a “personality quiz” — stating it would not download names or any personally identifiable information.

The case created a firestorm over data protection when it was disclosed that Cambridge Analytica was able to create psychological profiles using data from millions of Facebook users.

FTC hits Facebook with $5 billion fine and new privacy checks

The case created a firestorm over data protection when it was disclosed that Cambridge Analytica was able to create psychological profiles using data from millions of Facebook users.

Facebook’s own investigation found that some data from 87 million users in the United States and elsewhere had been compromised by the firm, and claimed the practices violated the social network’s terms of service.

Facebook paid a record $5 bn (£3.8bn) penalty earlier this year in a settlement with the regulator over mishandling users’ private data.

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