Facebook on Thursday said it is investigating a report that a database containing names and phone numbers of more than 267 million users was exposed online.
The database was made available for download last week on an online hacker forum that apparently belonged to a crime group, according to a blog post on the website Comparitech.
“We are looking into this issue, but believe this is likely information obtained before changes we made in the past few years to better protect people’s information,” a Facebook spokesperson told AFP.
Comparitech said that security researcher Bob Diachenko spotted the database, which was openly accessible and contained Facebook users’ names, user IDs and phone numbers.
The discovery was reported and the database was no longer available by Thursday, according to Comparitech.
Revelation of the exposed data comes as the social network strives to rebuild trust and alleviate concerns over protection of people’s information.
US regulators earlier this month said that British consultancy Cambridge Analytica — at the center of a massive scandal involving Facebook data hijacking — deceived the social network’s users about how it collected and handled their personal information.
The Federal Trade Commission said its investigation launched in March 2018 concluded that the now-defunct political consulting firm “engaged in deceptive practices to harvest personal information from tens of millions of Facebook users for voter profiling and targeting.”
The FTC said the British firm, which worked on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, made “false and misleading” claims when it offered Facebook users a “personality quiz” — stating it would not download names or any personally identifiable information.
The case created a firestorm over data protection when it was disclosed that Cambridge Analytica was able to create psychological profiles using data from millions of Facebook users.
Facebook’s own investigation found that some data from 87 million users in the United States and elsewhere had been compromised by the firm, and claimed the practices violated the social network’s terms of service.
Facebook paid a record $5 billion penalty early this year in a settlement with the regulator over mishandling users’ private data.
Trump boasts he’s about to declare Antifa a ‘Terrorist Organization’
Donald Trump took to Twitter on Sunday morning to announce that he will be "designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization."
The brief tweet followed several others blaming violence at George Floyd protests on the loosely organized group of anarchists.
The president wrote, "The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization."
You can see the tweets below:
The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2020
Make cops pay for their crimes and end ‘qualified immunity’: conservative columnist
Writing for the conservative Bulwark, the vice president for criminal justice at the Cato Institute explained that the time has come for police officers who have been accused of crimes be treated like any other Americans and not be handed the shield of "qualified immunity" that protects them from paying the price for breaking the law.
As Cato's Clark Neily wrote, in light of the death of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers -- now all fired -- it is time for a reappraisal of legal protections provided to law enforcement personnel.
Big hints lie in the official complaint against Derek Chauvin — and surprising details are left out: ex-prosecutor
In a column for CNN, former federal prosecutor Elie Honig reviewed the criminal complaint filed against ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and said it gives clues as to the direction prosecutors are likely to follow to convict the alleged killer of Georg Floyd -- but it also leaves out key elements of the case that should be brought before a jury.
As Honig wrote, the case against Chauvin is strong but may not go far enough.