Facebook was severely criticized and put under the threshold by federal agencies for the major Cambridge Analytica data breach. But the company seems to pay no heed to inform those who were affected in a massive data breach involving 533 million users, which include over 61 lakh Indians. Also Read - WhatsApp announces rollout of end-to-end encrypted backups for Android, iOS
While the Cambridge Analytica leak last year revealed global manipulation to be ‘out of control,’ Facebook now claims to have “made changes to the contact importer” to stop the scraping of the data which is old. Also Read - Facebook launches Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses alongside new Facebook View app
“We have teams dedicated to addressing these kinds of issues and understand the impact they can have on the people who use our services. It is important to understand that malicious actors obtained this data not through hacking our systems but by scraping it from our platform prior to September 2019,” Facebook said in a statement this week. Also Read - WhatsApp multi-device for iPad users in the works, release expected soon
Scraping is a common tactic that often relies on automated software to lift public information from the internet that can end up being distributed in online forums like this.
“As a result of the action we took, we are confident that the specific issue that allowed them to scrape this data in 2019 no longer exists,” the US-based social media platform said.
The company said that it believes the data in question was scraped from people’s Facebook profiles by malicious actors using its contact importer prior to September 2019. This feature was designed to help people easily find their friends to connect with on our services using their contact lists.
“When we became aware of how malicious actors were using this feature in 2019, we made changes to the contact importer. In this case, we updated it to prevent malicious actors from using software to imitate our app and upload a large set of phone numbers to see which ones matched Facebook users,” Facebook explained.
Apparently, there are third-party platforms that can still tell users if they were part of the Facebook data breach. One such website that tracks data breaches is “Have I Been Pwned”. Put in your email address or phone number and it will not only tell you if you’ve been part of the latest Facebook breach but also breaches in the past. Facebook leaked data includes users’ ID numbers, their profile names, email addresses, location information, gender details, job data, and other details.