Data From 500 Million Facebook Users Has Been Leaked Online. Details from more than 500 million Facebook users have been found available on a website for hackers. The information appears to be several years old, but it is another example of the vast amount of information collected by Facebook and other social media sites, and the limits to how secure that information is.
In February 2018, Facebook was found guilty in German and Belgian courts of violating privacy laws. Later in the same month, Facebook claimed a bug led to engagement notifications being texted to users based on the phone number submitted for Facebook’s two-factor authentication (2FA). The social media giant later admitted it did, in fact, harvest 2FA numbers for advertising purposes.
Facebook has been grappling with data security issues for years. In 2018 the social media giant also disabled a feature that allowed users to search for one another via phone number following revelations that the political firm Cambridge Analytica had accessed information on up to 87 million Facebook users without their knowledge or consent.
According to Business Insider, the website has information from 106 countries including phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates, and email addresses. The scandal spurred investigations into Facebook’s data sharing, privacy practices and control over third-party access, including an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission also began an investigation with the FTC to determine what Facebook knew about Cambridge Analytica’s activity in 2015 and if the company held back on revealing pertinent information.
In an effort to prevent future incidents, Facebook introduced new privacy controls and an expanded bug bounty. The company also jumped out in front of calls for regulating the social network and offered to work with lawmakers on the types of regulation that would be best. In April 2018, the company admitted the Cambridge Analytica scandal may have involved as many as 87 million people.