Facebook has graced the headlines of many newspapers and blogs for its errors with data breaches and privacy abuses. Imagine finding your phone contact resting on an unprotected database on the internet! This is the latest scandal with the social media giant, even though it claims that all accounts are still intact. This is more or less a privacy scandal.
A feature which Facebook had shut down in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal has erupted to haunt the social network. It emerged on Wednesday, that millions of phone numbers that were tied to millions of Facebook accounts were found online in an unprotected database.
It is alleged that the users’ phone numbers are believed to be owned by Americans, but Facebook claims that no account has been compromised. Whatever the case, this is a subtle revelation that security measures aren’t stringent enough to ward off hackers and that the present security policies can’t address past breaches or data leaks.
The social media giant shut down the feature in 2018. Before then, people could use another person’s phone number to find them on Facebook. Facebook shut down the feature in April 2018 weeks after the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke out, when it discovered that “malicious actors” had abused the feature to unlawfully harvest information from Facebook users.
“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,” Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s Chief Technology officer said at the time.
TechCrunch on Wednesday reported that security researcher found the records of over 400 million phone numbers tied to Facebook contacts in an unprotected database on the internet.
Facebook launched a probe after the report. A spokesperson from Facebook said the data base contains duplicate entries and likely existed before the policy was changed in April 2018.
“This dataset is old and appears to have information obtained before we made changes last year to remove people’s ability to find others using their phone numbers. The dataset has been taken down and we have seen no evidence that Facebook accounts were compromised.”