PART SOCIAL NETWORK, PART TRAINWRECK Facebook has added another top-notch faux pas to its growing list of mishaps. This time it's "unintentionally" uploaded 1.5 million people's email contacts without bothering to ask permission.
Business Insider, which discovered the whopping great bug, reckons the problem has existed since May 2016, back in the carefree days when Facebook was letting Cambridge Analytica go hog wild with user data to promote a plucky outsider to the White House.
This is how it unfolded: a security researcher spotted that Facebook was asking some users to put in their email passwords when they signed up with a new account to verify their identity. Business Insider then experimented with what would happen if you were brave/mad enough to do so and found that a message popped up saying it was "importing" its contacts without having the decency to check that was okay first.
Apparently, 1.5 million people just accepted this as just one of those things, and the information was then used to build up Facebook's uncanny ability to predict when you know somebody.
So how the hell do you do this by accident? Well, this is Facebook's account of what happened: "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 spokesperson explained.
"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."
Don't you just hate it when that happens? µ
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