Facebook harvested the email addresses of 1.5 million users then ‘unintentionally’ uploaded them without consent
- Facebook said on Wednesday it may have exposed user email addresses
- Company said 1.5 million new users since May 2016 may have been affected
- Facebook says contacts were not shared with anyone and they’re being deleted
- Last year, it was learned users’ data was mined by Cambridge Analytica
- This week, it was revealed Facebook shared user data with apps which bought ads
- Company also reportedly shared user data with ‘friends of Mark Zuckerberg’
Published: 03:26 BST, 18 April 2019 | Updated: 06:13 BST, 18 April 2019
Facebook says it may have ‘unintentionally’ uploaded email contacts of 1.5 million new users who joined beginning May 2016
Facebook Inc said on Wednesday it may have unintentionally uploaded email contacts of 1.5 million new users on the social media site since May 2016.
The contacts were not shared with anyone and the company is deleting them, Facebook told Reuters in a statement, adding that users whose contacts were imported will be notified.
Business Insider had earlier reported that the social media company harvested email contacts of the users without their knowledge or consent when they opened their accounts.
Facebook has been hit by a number of privacy-related issues, including a glitch that exposed passwords of millions of users stored in readable format within its internal systems to its employees.
Last year, the company came under fire following revelations that Cambridge Analytica obtained personal data of millions of people’s Facebook profiles without their consent.
Facebook told Business Insider that it did not mean to upload these contacts, and is now in the process of deleting them.
The company has been dealing with a months-long public relations nightmare over its handling of personal user data, which the social media giant reportedly gave to app developers who spent big on advertising and who were ‘friends’ of CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Earlier this week, a trove of leaked documents revealed years of internal deliberations over user data at Facebook, indicating privacy was used as public justification for business decisions designed to gain ‘leverage’ against competition.
The company has been dealing with a months-long public relations nightmare over its handling of personal user data, which the social media giant reportedly gave to app developers who spent big on ads and who were ‘friends’ of CEO Mark Zuckerberg (above on April 2)
Some 4,000 pages of highly sensitive Facebook internal documents, largely spanning 2011 to 2015, were leaked to a British journalist who shared them with several outlets, according to NBC News.
The documents, which include emails, webchats, presentations, spreadsheets and meeting summaries, appear to show Facebook’s internal deliberations on whether to sell user data to third party app developers.
It appears the Facebook ultimately decided against selling user data, instead opting to dole it out to app developers who were considered personal ‘friends’ of CEO Mark Zuckerberg or those who spend money on Facebook ads or shared their own valuable data.
According to the report, Facebook made deals with developers at Amazon, Tinder, Sony, and Microsoft to give these sites access to user data, despite restricting others from the same information.
In a statement to DailyMail.com, Facebook VP and Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewald said that the documents were ‘cherry picked’ as part of a lawsuit against Facebook to force it to share more data with third parties.
‘The set of documents, by design, tells only one side of the story and omits important context,’ Grewald said.
‘The documents were selectively leaked as part of what the court found was evidence of a crime or fraud to publish some, but not all, of the internal discussions at Facebook at the time of our platform changes. But the facts are clear: we’ve never sold people’s data,’ he continued.
The documents mostly describe internal deliberations leading up to a major change that Facebook made in 2014 and 2015, when it severely restricted access to user data from third party apps.
While one employee fretted that the company’s approach to user data was ‘unethical’, Doug Purdy, Facebook’s director of product, described Zuckerberg as a ‘master of leverage,’ according to the documents.
At the time, and following the 2018 Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal, Facebook publicly portrayed the policy change as motivated by deep concern for user privacy.
But the documents show that privacy was rarely mentioned as executives debated how Facebook handled third-party access to user data.
In the early 2010s, Facebook’s approach was to encourage third-party apps to build within its ecosystem by giving developers access to user data through an application programming interface.