Facebook Harvested Email Contacts of 1.5 Million Users Without Their Consent

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Apr 18, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Facebook harvested the email contacts of 1.5 million users without their knowledge or consent and used the data to build a web of their social connections, it emerged today. Business Insider reports that Facebook began collecting the contact lists in May 2016 when new users opened a new account on the social network.

    Image via Business Insider

    The harvesting occurred when users were offered email password verification as an option to verify their identity when signing up to Facebook, a method widely condemned by security experts. In some cases if users did enter their password, a pop-up message would appear informing them that it was "importing" their contacts, without even asking their permission to do so.

    These contacts were then fed into Facebook's database systems and used to build a map of users' social links and inform recommended friends on the social network. It's not clear if the data was also used for ad-targeting purposes.

    In a statement given to Business Insider, the company said that these email contacts had been "unintentionally uploaded" to Facebook when users created their account.

    It also said that prior to May 2016, it offered an option to verify a user's account and voluntarily upload their contacts at the same time. However, the feature was changed and the text informing users that their contacts would be uploaded was deleted, but the underlying functionality was not. Facebook says at no point did it access the content of users' emails.
    The news is just the latest addition to a long list of privacy blunders and violations by Facebook. In March, for example, it emerged that between 200 and 600 million Facebook users may have had their account passwords stored in plain text in a database accessible to 20,000 Facebook employees. Some Instagram passwords were also included.

    That was followed earlier this month by news that cybersecurity researchers had discovered millions of Facebook records publicly accessible on Amazon's cloud servers, after the data was uploaded by third-party companies that work with Facebook.

    In yet another development just this week, over 4,000 pages of documents from 2011 to 2015 were leaked which provide insight into how Facebook took advantage of user data while publicly promising to protect user privacy before and after its 2015 move to end broad access to user data.

    Article Link: Facebook Harvested Email Contacts of 1.5 Million Users Without Their Consent
  2. iPhysicist macrumors 65816


    Nov 9, 2009
    DELETE Facebook already. What on earth keeps this thing alive?! Every other "social" media would be dead by now.
  3. Relentless Power, Apr 18, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019

    Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    Facebook definitely has its share of ongoing problems, it’s unfortunate what it’s become over the years, especially when it doesn’t value the users privacy in mind, even when they claim too. And in today’s digital era of the Internet, privacy is crucial, and Facebook has failed on many levels. (Proud to say I’ve never had a Facebook account and now I’m glad I never did.)
  4. LewisChapman macrumors 6502a


    Jan 10, 2015
    Facebook saying they will ‘delete the harvested email addresses’ is like me saying I’ll put away this pack of biscuits after this last one.
  5. bgalakazam macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2014
  6. 0815 macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2010
    here and there but not over there
    Not surprised... they are not trustworthy.

    But as long as people stay with them nothing will change.
  7. Adam Warlock macrumors regular

    Adam Warlock

    Jun 22, 2016
    This sort of thing keeps happening because there are no real consequences. A million-dollar fine per e-mail address would change things very, very quickly IMO.
  8. justperry macrumors G3


    Aug 10, 2007
    In the core of a black hole.
    It won't change as long as government doesn't make laws or investigate these bastards.

    Set the fine as high as their annual profit.
  9. pika2000 macrumors 601

    Jun 22, 2007
    Not only there are no real consequences, there is literally zero effect on Facebook’s brand. The people simply don’t mind. Plus majority of Silicon Valley are part of the circle jerk with Facebook, relying on them as a platform.
  10. macfacts macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2012
    Why hasn't Tim removed the FB app from the store?
  11. jgbr macrumors 6502a

    Sep 14, 2007
    Them.Again. Again being the trend. The more you arm them with your information freely, the more they will abuse it and take access to it for granted.
  12. pika2000 macrumors 601

    Jun 22, 2007
    That’s like taking heroin away from the addicts cold turkey.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 18, 2019 ---
    And people wanted Zuck to be the next president.
  13. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    It’s not even a concern anymore.

    A concern is worrying about a realistic but hypothetical issue.

    Facebooks privacy issues stopped being concerns long ago, and have become full-blown problems. Facebook is actively reckless with user privacy.
  14. matt_and_187_like_this macrumors member

    Dec 8, 2015
    Problem is that there will always be idiots who give companies like Facebook the login data to their email account. Facebook does not need everyone to be stupid. A couple of your friends are sufficient.
  15. johannnn macrumors 65816


    Nov 20, 2009
    FB belongs to the top five richest company in the world, and their product is 100% free. Who on earth actually thinks they’re not profiting from data of the users?
    If you’re fine with that (which most are), then do nothing. If you’re not, then go somewhere else. Why all the hate though?
  16. Kabeyun macrumors 68020


    Mar 27, 2004
    Eastern USA
    No one will care, more people will sign up because they value convenience over all else, and the idea of privacy will continue to erode.
  17. UKinEK Suspended

    Aug 29, 2015
    What is privacy?
  18. GreenPixel macrumors member


    Aug 21, 2014
    That was a thing? That's horrifying.
  19. thebeans macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2009
    Facebook is the devil
  20. B4U macrumors 68000


    Oct 11, 2012
    Undisclosed location
    Like I said in another article, sheeple need to wake up to this cancer cell of all mankind.
  21. Lucky736 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 18, 2004
  22. macduke macrumors G4


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Of course they did because they are actually evil in every sense of the word. Just wait until you find out the next awful thing that they did tomorrow and the ones next week are going to be a doozy.
  23. Breaking Good macrumors 65816

    Sep 28, 2012
    Because Facebook isn't just harvesting the information from its users. They also harvest the information of the contacts of the users. Those people have not given Facebook permission to use their information.
  24. EatinPonies macrumors member

    Feb 15, 2016
    Ok, honestly - I've had enough.

    But my FB usage is almost entirely through groups: my soccer team, car club, kid's school stuff... and I'm not dumb enough to think that I can convince all my groups to get off of FB.

    Question: Would I be less prone to this crap if I just used the web version and changed notifications to just email me when a post happened in my groups?
  25. blasto2236 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 4, 2012
    Just like Gruber says: if they’re saying 1.5 million, you can bet the real number is higher and we’ll find out in a few days. They always try and downplay the actual number of affected users.

    Disgusting company.

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