Over 400 million Facebook users' phone numbers exposed

It's a new record for terrible data privacy management! Congratulations, Facebook.


Facebook is the most poplar website on all of the Internet, and with that comes massive responsibility when it comes to the area of data privacy. The company goofed again, as this week it was revealed that 419 million users have had their phone numbers leaked in an unsecured database.

Sanyam Jain, a security researcher, stumbled upon the database that is no longer online. He contacted TechCrunch after being unable to find the owner of the server. TechCrunch was able to corroborate Jain's findings after checking the database against some known Facebook accounts.

Facebook says that no accounts were compromised by this data leak, and that the database was the result of scraping on the site. Facebook used to allow users to search by phone number, but that feature was removed in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. "This dataset is old and appears to have information obtained before we made changes last year to remove people's ability to find others using their phone numbers," said Facebook spokesperson Jay Nancarrow. "The dataset has been taken down and we have seen no evidence that Facebook accounts were compromised." 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made light of the company's pathetic data privacy record earlier this year at the F8 developers conference. 133 million U.S users, 18 million U.K. users, and 50 million Vietnamese users were included in the massive phone number leak. No one knows who scraped the site, or what they did with the information when the database was removed from its server. 

This is just the latest in news about Facebook's terrible data privacy mismanagement following the series of reports last year. The company said they would be taking privacy much more seriously at F8 earlier this year, so here's hoping they can keep their users' information safe. Not like any of their 2.3 billion users seem to care.


Asif Khan is the CEO, EIC, and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Tendobox.com. Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

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