Facebook said it isn't notifying users if they were affected by the leak of 533 million...

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,854   +744
Staff member
WTF?! To be clear: The database containing the personal information of half a billion Facebook users is not just a treasure trove for telemarketers and telephone spammers. Information like birthdates, marital status, hometowns, and other places lived are a social engineer's bread and butter. Regardless of whether the data was already available publicly, having it listed in a convenient database and released to the public is no small matter.

Earlier this week, a security researcher discovered that Facebook leaked the data of 533 million users. Personal information in the breach included phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, hometowns, places lived, birthdates, email addresses, relationship status, and more. So this was not just a minor leak that can be swept under the rug.

Despite the breach's severity, Facebook told Reuters that it has no plans to inform affected users. The spokesperson reasons that the company is not "confident" it could identify which users were affected and that "the data was [already] publicly available." Additionally, the spokesperson said that the data was "scraped" before September 2019 using a contact-syncing vulnerability it was already patched long ago. It is worth noting that it did not notify users at the time of that security concern either.

As BuzzFeed's Ryan Mac pointed out in a tweet (above), Facebook said that the 2019 scraping of data goes against its terms of service, yet it has done nothing about Clearview AI scraping millions of photos from Facebook and Instagram. Other than "demanding" the face recognition company stop scraping its data, Facebook has not sought more aggressive action to stop it. Mac claims this is because Facebook board member Peter Thiel is a Clearview investor.

Despite all of that, there are ways to check if your data was involved in the breach without Facebook's help. The database is publicly available through torrent sites, and several websites on the internet can perform searches to see if your data has ever been leaked. However, use caution with sites that ask for personal information to perform a search. Have I Been Pwned is one of the more reliable data leak search engines. I have used it without consequence on several occasions.

The news of the stolen information, and Facebook's lack of concern about it, should not come as a surprise. The company has a long history of data misuse and abuse. Ironically, 2019—the year Facebook claims to have patched the vulnerability—was the same year it vowed a "privacy-focused" future. Given the circumstances, one has to question whether it meant user privacy or corporate privacy?

Image credit: mundissima

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terzaerian

Posts: 634   +882
So.. f*ck Mark Zuckerberg and f*ck Facebook, because it's a uncontrolled digital cancer on society.
There was a recent article here on some Pew research, and Facebook's growth has basically been flatlined since 2012. Growth of Instagram and Whatsapp were also tepid, compared to the likes of YouTube and Reddit.

Companies like Google and Facebook are powerful but they are not invincible.
 

Austinturner

Posts: 114   +115
There was a recent article here on some Pew research, and Facebook's growth has basically been flatlined since 2012. Growth of Instagram and Whatsapp were also tepid, compared to the likes of YouTube and Reddit.

Companies like Google and Facebook are powerful but they are not invincible.
I’m still following a few interesting accounts on instagram for hobbies I like but see only a handful of stories from friends and family, facebook itself seems to get no use by anyone I know anymore and I just have messenger for a family chat. I was in uni when facebook took off and the rise and decline has been pretty spectacular.
 

brucek

Posts: 738   +1,003
TechSpot Elite
There's an old joke about how you can tell when a politician is lying - their lips are moving.

That's basically how I feel about how you can tell when a social network has shared details about you it said it wouldn't - you viewed it or even worse posted on it.
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 238   +343
There's an old joke about how you can tell when a politician is lying - their lips are moving.

That's basically how I feel about how you can tell when a social network has shared details about you it said it wouldn't - you viewed it or even worse posted on it.
I don't think Facebook has ever claimed not to share your info. The problem with this leak is that it's from the good old times when they sold super user access to everything. The reason they won't notify affected users is probably more down to the fact that there are most likely more and even bigger datamined lists out there.
 

0dium

Posts: 188   +221
I don't think Facebook has ever claimed not to share your info. The problem with this leak is that it's from the good old times when they sold super user access to everything. The reason they won't notify affected users is probably more down to the fact that there are most likely more and even bigger datamined lists out there.
I think they just don't want even more people leave it
 

CybaGirl

Posts: 46   +21
These facebook chimps are excellent at censoring free speech and anything that the mindless opium masses and snowflakes don't like.

But can't get their act together and improve security and keep peoples information safe?

None the less I am over it all and deleting my account on there once I am out of FB gaol.

What is everyone else using?

Or you are simply not using Social Media at all?

I looked at MeWe the other day but there doesn't seem to be a lot happening on there at the moment.