400 million Facebook users’ phone numbers exposed in privacy lapse: reports

An exposed Facebook server, which was not password protected, stored 419 million records on users across several databases. (AFP)
Updated 05 September 2019

400 million Facebook users’ phone numbers exposed in privacy lapse: reports

  • An exposed server stored 419 million records on users across several databases
  • The server was not password protected, meaning anyone could access the databases

WASHINGTON: Phone numbers linked to more than 400 million Facebook accounts were listed online in the latest privacy lapse for the social media giant, US media reported Wednesday.
An exposed server stored 419 million records on users across several databases — including 133 million US accounts, more than 50 million in Vietnam, and 18 million in Britain, according to technology news site TechCruch.
The databases listed Facebook user IDs — unique digits attached to each account — the profiles’ phone numbers, as well as the gender listed by some accounts and their geographical locations, technology website TechCrunch reported.
The server was not password protected, meaning anyone could access the databases, and remained online until late Wednesday when TechCrunch contacted the site’s host.
Facebook confirmed parts of the report but downplayed the extent of the exposure, saying that the number of accounts so far confirmed was around half of the reported 419 million.
It added that many of the entries were duplicates and that the data was old.
“The dataset has been taken down and we have seen no evidence that Facebook accounts were compromised,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
Following the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, when a firm used Facebook’s lax privacy settings to access millions of users’ personal details, the company disabled a feature that allowed users to search the platform by phone numbers.
The exposure of a user’s phone number leaves them vulnerable to spam calls, SIM-swapping — as recently happened to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey — with hackers able to force-reset the passwords of the compromised accounts.


Bangladesh police say violence over Facebook post kills 4

Updated 20 October 2019

Bangladesh police say violence over Facebook post kills 4

  • The violence took place Sunday in Borhanuddin in the southern district of Bhola when angry protesters demanded the punishment of a Hindu man for the alleged Facebook comment
  • The man denied making the comment, saying his Facebook account had been hacked

DHAKA, Bangladesh: Police say at least four people were killed after security officials in southern Bangladesh opened fire to disperse hundreds of Muslims during a protest over an alleged social media post undermining Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
Local police chief Sarkar Mohammad Kaisar says the violence took place Sunday in Borhanuddin in the southern district of Bhola when angry protesters demanded the punishment of a Hindu man for the alleged Facebook comment. The man denied making the comment, saying his Facebook account had been hacked.
Kaisar says four people were killed and dozens were wounded.
Communal tensions often pop up in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, with minority groups saying they face discrimination.