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More than 400M phone numbers leaked; Facebook in trouble again?

By Geetika Raleh . 6th September 2019 02:00pm
More than 400M phone numbers leaked; Facebook in trouble again?

The social media giant is in a spot of bother once again with a privacy lapse over leakage of phone numbers linked to Facebook accounts. A technology news website, TechCrunch has revealed that they found an exposed server which stored 419 million records of users from the US, Vietnam, and Britain across several databases. The said database listed Ids of FB users, the profile phone numbers, geographical locations along with the genders listed by some accounts. 

The shocking part was, as reported by TechCrunch, that the server was not password protected. This means that anyone could have accessed the database. It remained online until late Wednesday when TechCrunch contacted site's host. 

The Facebook spokesperson has confirmed the same but in bits & pieces. According to FB, only around half of the 419 million were exposed on contrary to what the tech site has reported. Facebook also added that many of the entries were duplicated and the data was also old. FB spokesperson confirmed that the dataset has been taken down since the reports came in and they have not found any evidence that Facebook accounts were compromised. 

Mark Zuckerberg-led company has been in a spot of bother following the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal when a firm used Facebook's data to access millions of users' details. However, since then, the company has disabled the search option by phone number. 

TechCrunch also reported that out of the 419 million accounts, 133 million were the US accounts, more than 50 million in Vietnam, and 18 million in Britain.

The tech giant's spokesperson did not respond to the questions about informing the users about their exposed information or even provide any mitigation to the affected. The spokesperson only said that the company was still investigating into the matter.

The latest lapse comes amid growing concern among US policymakers about the privacy of online users. This has sparked calls for new legal protections in Congress.

The US Justice Department also recently said that it is launching a broad antitrust probe into the competitive practices of large tech companies like Facebook.