Do you have an account on Facebook? Yes? Then you might be among the 419 million Facebook users whose data was found online. This impacts customers from the UK to the US. It was Sanyam Jain, research with GDI Foundation, who discovered a database on a server that was not protected.
The data includes phone numbers, user names, Facebook IDs, gender, and even the countries where they are from. It is not clear as to why this particular dataset was collected from the social media network. A Facebook spokesperson, however, claims that the dataset is old and has information that was removed last year, including using phone numbers for finding other users. The spokesperson also stated that the dataset has been taken down and that there is no evidence that Facebook accounts were impacted.
According to TechCrunch that carried out verification of some of the records in the database by matching them to the known users of the platform. The data leak exposed a total of 133 million records of Facebook users based in the US, 18 million records of Facebook users from the UK, and about 50 million users who were based in Vietnam. No one has been able to find the owner of the dataset.
Even if the data leak does not impact users of Facebook, it is definitely questioning the privacy measures taken by the company. Facebook has been under intense scrutiny following the Cambridge Analytica incident, where the political consulting firm was able to access data of 87 million Facebook users without permission. The news of this data leak comes only after a couple of weeks after the social media giant agreed to pay a fine of $5 billion to the Federal Trade Commission for addressing privacy violations. The fine is the highest fine ever paid by a technology company, but when compared with the net value, $585 billion, of Facebook; it is almost negligible.