Well, another Facebook data leak is upon us. What a surprise? The news comes from PhoneAreana (via Bloomberg). The new leak sees over 500 million Facebook users’ data floating around online for free. That is a large number of users.
Facebook makes its money from collecting user data and selling that data to advertisers. So one would think that the company would be a bit more careful about keeping that data safe. The information that has been leaked includes Facebook users’ Facebook IDs, full names, birth dates, location data, email addresses, and bios.
A spokesman for Facebook said in an email statement that “this is old data that was previously reported on in 2019. We found and fixed this issue in August 2019.” Despite this being taken care of back in 2019 the data is still floating around now.
Of course, once data has been released into the wild it is near impossible to retrieve it. The main problem is that Facebook had an issue in 2019 that allowed for the leak to happen at first. You would think the company would be more protective over what it uses to make its billions of dollars.
New Facebook data leak puts users’ data online for free
Alon Gal, chief technology officer of cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock, is responsible for finding the data online. Once he saw the data on Saturday, he tweeted that large and rare databases aren’t shared widely.
The tweet continues to explain this. It says that “the people who hold it will attempt to monetize it for as long as they can. The process sometimes takes years, sometimes days, but eventually, all private databases leak if they were sold around.”
In a follow-up tweet, Gal says“533,000,000 Facebook records were just leaked for free. This means that if you have a Facebook account, it is extremely likely the phone number used for the account was leaked. I have yet to see Facebook acknowledging this absolute negligence of your data.”
32.3 million United States citizens had their data stolen versus only 11.52 million in the United Kingdom. Facebook makes a living off of selling its users’ data to advertisers. However, with leaks like this, it makes it hard to justify advertisers buying it from Facebook. It is currently floating around the web for free.
Of course, this is technically good for advertisers. But it is terrible news for the users whose data is floating around. Users make an agreement with social media platforms to access their platforms for free in exchange for the users’ data.
These social platforms should be more serious about protecting that information. This is one reason why Facebook continues finding itself in hot water with the government. It also makes it likely many will not be keen on its rumored “smartwatch” it is working on.