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Facebook violates users’ privacy yet again as millions of phone numbers were listed online

Phone numbers linked to more than 400 million Facebook accounts were listed online in the latest privacy lapse by the social media giant.

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 reports, 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.

The server was not password protected, meaning anyone could access the databases and remained online until late Wednesday when Technology news site 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 told AFP.

As reported by The Sauce, this is not the first time that Facebook has been faced with privacy violation issue. In April 2019, Facebook admitted that it collected up to 1.5 million users’ email contacts without their consent.

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.

This article was first published by Capital News.

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