Facebook copied email contacts of 1.5 million users2019-04-18 13:09 by Daniela
Tags: Facebook, e-mail
Facebook "unintentionally" harvested the email contacts of about 1.5 million of its users during the past three years. Since May 2016 Facebook was asking some new users for the password to their email account. If users entered their email password then Facebook used it to access their contact list and upload the contents to its servers without asking for permission. The information grabbed is believed to have been used by Facebook to help map social and personal connections between users.
Facebook acknowledged the issue and said that it had already fixed it. All those users whose contacts were taken would be notified and all the contacts it had grabbed without consent would be deleted, it said.
"Last month we stopped offering email password verification as an option for people verifying their account when signing up for Facebook for the first time," a Facebook spokesperson said. "When we looked into the steps people were going through to verify their accounts we found that in some cases people's email contacts were also unintentionally uploaded to Facebook when they created their account.
"We estimate that up to 1.5 million people's email contacts may have been uploaded. These contacts were not shared with anyone and we're deleting them. We've fixed the underlying issue and are notifying people whose contacts were imported. People can also review and manage the contacts they share with Facebook in their settings."
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last month the company would become more privacy-minded moving forward.
"I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won't stick around forever. This is the future I hope we will help bring about," Zuckerberg said in a post.
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