Facebook unintentionally uploaded 1.5 million users email contacts

Brink

Staff member
mvp
Facebook harvested the email contacts of 1.5 million users without their knowledge or consent when they opened their accounts.

Since May 2016, the social-networking company has collected the contact lists of 1.5 million users new to the social network, Business Insider can reveal. The Silicon Valley company said the contact data was "unintentionally uploaded to Facebook," and it is now deleting them.

The revelation comes after pseudononymous security researcher e-sushi noticed that Facebook was asking some users to enter their email passwords when they signed up for new accounts to verify their identities, a move widely condemned by security experts. Business Insider then discovered that if you entered your email password, a message popped up saying it was "importing" your contacts without asking for permission first.

At the time, it wasn't clear what was happening — but on Wednesday, Facebook disclosed to Business Insider that 1.5 million people's contacts were collected this way and fed into Facebook's systems, where they were used to improve Facebook's ad targeting, build Facebook's web of social connections, and recommend friends to add.

A Facebook spokesperson said before May 2016, it offered an option to verify a user's account using their email password and voluntarily upload their contacts at the same time. However, they said, the company changed the feature, and the text informing users that their contacts would be uploaded was deleted — but the underlying functionality was not.

Facebook didn't access the content of users' emails, the spokesperson added. But users' contacts can still be highly sensitive data — revealing who people are communicating with and connect to.

While 1.5 million people's contact books were directly harvested by Facebook, the total number of people whose contact information was improperly obtained by Facebook may well be in the dozens or even hundreds of millions, as people sometimes have hundreds of contacts stored on their email accounts. The spokesperson could not provide a figure for the total number of contacts obtained this way...

Read more: Facebook uploaded 1.5 million users email contacts without permission - Business Insider
 

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Brink

Staff member
mvp
(Update on April 18, 2019 at 7AM PT: Since this post was published, we discovered additional logs of Instagram passwords being stored in a readable format. We now estimate that this issue impacted millions of Instagram users. We will be notifying these users as we did the others. Our investigation has determined that these stored passwords were not internally abused or improperly accessed).

Read more: Keeping Passwords Secure | Facebook Newsroom
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    Manufacturer/Model
    Custom
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    Seasonic Prime Titanium 850W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Pro
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy Y0F94AV
    CPU
    i7-7500U @ 2.70 GHz
    Memory
    16 GB DDR4-2133
    Graphics card(s)
    NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
    Sound Card
    Conexant ISST Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17.3" UHD IPS touch
    Screen Resolution
    3480 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    512 GB M.2 SSD
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