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TechCrunch Allegedly Gained Access To Data Of 400 Million Facebook Users


TechCrunch Allegedly Gained Access To Data Of 400 Million Facebook Users
A database of Facebook that contained unprotected unique IDs and phone numbers of 419 million Facebook users was found by news outlet TechCrunch and this data was kept in a server that was easily accessible by anyone.
The data base has been taken down and the fault that allowed anyone to access the data has been fixed, said Facebook.
This disclosure was made by TechCrunch just a day before the largest social media platform in the world was to launch its already existing Dating service in the United States. 
Even though Facebook had disabled a feature that allowed someone to look up a user's phone number, it is possible that the phone numbers of more than 400 million Facebook users could have been exposed.
According to the claims of TechCrunch, an exposed server contained the trove of Facebook accounts and the server was not password protected which meant that anyone who chose to could have found and gained access to the users’ data stored in the servers.
Unique Facebook IDs and the phone number listed on the account of the 419 million records was contained in the database. User's birth date, location and gender of users were also found in some of the user accounts.
The 400 million figure was however disputed by Facebook in a statement and claimed that many of the numbers were duplicates and the data that was leaked was "about half" of what had been claimed by TechCrunch. The company also assured that the fault that resulted in the records being exposed had been fixed. The company however did not offer any further explanation.
"This dataset is old and appears to have information obtained before we made changes last year to remove people's ability to find others using their phone numbers," the statement said. "The dataset has been taken down and we have seen no evidence that Facebook accounts were compromised. The underlying issue was addressed as part of a Newsroom post on April 4th 2018 by Facebook's Chief Technology Officer."
Access to phone number of users was switched off by Facebook in 2018 since the company felt that the feature was being unethically and illegally exploited and abused and could be used for gathering large amounts of information. However, hackers and researchers continue to dig up information on Facebook users even a year after that announcement was made by Facebook.
the Federal Trade Commission had recently slapped a fine of $5 billion on Facebook for breach of privacy by the company wherein private information of millions of users were allowed to be gathered unhindered by the company without consent and knowledge of the users. An investigation against the company is currently going on over allegations that the company that it had allowed the spreading of election-related misinformation and discrimination in housing ads in the US.
The expose about Facebook’s unsecured data was published by TechCrunch a day before the company was set top launch its Dating product which is already available in 19 countries including Brazil, Canada.

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