These days Facebook is in the news for all the bad reasons. If all the troubles weren’t enough for the company, a new report claims that Facebook accessed the contacts of 1.5 million users and uploaded them to its servers.
The report was published by Business Insider and claims that Facebook has been collecting contacts since May 2016. It was earlier discovered that Facebook asked users to enter their Email passwords, post which the contacts were automatically “imported” without the permission of the user. A Facebook spokesperson has now confirmed that Facebook collected over 1.5 million people’s contacts. The collected data was then used by Facebook to create a web of social connections and the “People you may know” list. The company hasn’t confirmed if the data was used for ad-targeting by Facebook or by third-parties.
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. 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.
The company has confirmed that they are deleting the details captured and has fixed the underlying issue. However, this is certainly not the first time Facebook has compromised users’ privacy because of a mistake on the company’s end. The company was under a microscope last year because of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and unfortunately, the incidents related to privacy has increased since then.