Facebook Has No Plans to Notify Half-Billion Users about Data Leak

As per a report from Business Insider published last week, some details including users’ phone numbers were found in a public database.
Source: Time Magazine

Social Media giant Facebook Inc. hasn’t yet and has no plans in the future to notify more than 530 million users about the information leak that happened in 2019, as per the statement from the company’s spokesperson. The data was leaked due to a feature’s misuse and was made public in a database.

As per a report from Business Insider published last week, some details including users’ phone numbers were found in a public database. Facebook Inc. responded to the issue on Tuesday in a video blog post saying that some ‘malicious actors’ got the data through a tool’s liabilities by ‘scrapping’ user profiles before September 2019.

The leaked information didn’t include information relevant to finance, health, and passwords of user accounts, a statement from Facebook read. However, the information could be a significant lead to abuses and hacks.

The company’s spokesperson stated that Facebook didn’t have the visibility on which users need the notification. Facebook said the hole was immediately plugged off as soon as it was identified. The leaked data belongs to users from nearly 106 countries comprising more than 32 million records from the US, 6 million users from India, and 11 million users from the U.K.

Tim Wade, technical director of Vectra at California, said, “That failure to notify individuals affected by a breach is even considered a reasonable option demonstrates the ground we still need to cover with respect to the cultural expectations we place around digital platforms, and the standards we hold them to.”

The company, after being under scrutiny over managing users’ privacy for a long time, reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in 2019. The commission was investigating the accusations against the company about misusing the user data before the settlement.

This settlement between Facebook and FCT happened in July 2019 requires the company to furnish the details relevant to the unauthorized access of more than 500 million users within 30 days after the company confirms the incident.

Facebook’s spokesperson denied commenting about this settlement. But, he said that the company is in touch with FCT to respond to their questions.

A Data Protection Commission from Ireland, the company’s lead regulator from Europe, stated that the company tried contacting Facebook on Tuesday to discuss the leak. However, the company hasn’t responded proactively in the beginning but now got in touch, the commission said.

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