Details of the Data Leak
News of the leak from Facebook only came to light after a user on a hacking forum posted the information on approximately 533 million people over the weekend. These Facebook users are from all over the world, with 32 million from the United States (US), 11 million from the United Kingdom (UK), and 7 million users from India. While the sheer volume of user data is staggering enough, the amount of information on each individual Facebook user is equally worrisome.
The social media business failed to securely manage user data ranging from Facebook IDs, phone numbers, birthdates, locations, bios, and for some users, email addresses. More concerning is the fact that while some leaks eventually lose value over time, the sensitive nature of this data will allow hackers and scamming companies to use the information for years to come.
Especially now that the information is widely available, there is almost nothing that Facebook or any cybersecurity company can do to fix the problem. However, many people are calling for the social media company to do more not only to prevent data leaks but also to help users if they become victims of a data breach.
Facebook’s Response and Ongoing Issues
Another point of concern from many users and experts in the cybersecurity business has been the lack of notification from Facebook. While not much can be done in retrospect, one of the largest calls has been for businesses like Facebook to at the very least notify users whose data may have been leaked.
In response to the recent data breach, Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said, “This is old data that was previously reported on in 2019. We found and fixed this issue in August 2019. In 2019, we removed people's ability to directly find others using their phone number across both Facebook and Instagram - a function that could be exploited using sophisticated software code, to imitate Facebook and provide a phone number to find which users it belonged to.”
Facebook has had other issues with leaks in the past, with the most notable one occurring in 2015 with Cambridge Analytica scraping the data of 80 million users. The data scraping allowed businesses to run incredibly targeted political ads during an election year. This led to serious trouble from the SEC and federal government for the social media business, eventually resulting in an undisclosed but large fine.
About the Author
Tom Price is a writer focusing on Entertainment and Sports Features. He has a degree from NYU in English with a minor in Creative Writing. He has been previously published for Washington Square News, Dignitas, CBR, and Numbers on the Boards.