Facebook Admits "Most" Of Its 2.2 Billion Users Exposed To Data Scraping, "Malicious Actors"

Facebook has admitted that "most" of its 2.2 billion users "could have had their public profile scraped" by third parties without their knowledge, and that the personal information of up to 87 million people was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, the company disclosed on Wednesday. 

In total, we believe the Facebook information of up to 87 million people — mostly in the US — may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica,” said Mike Schroepfer, Facebook's Chief Technology Officer. 

Initial reports set the number of users affected by the CA data purchase at 50 million. The London-based political data company bought the data from two psychologists (one of whom currently works for Facebook) who developed a data harvesting app disguised as a fitness app. 

One of the methods used by "malicious actors" to "scrape" user data has been to enter another person's phone number or email address into a Facebook search, allowing information to be harvested or scraped. “We believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way,” Schroepfer said.

The Wednesday admissions were accompanied by the announcement of nine major changes aimed at safeguarding user privacy following the data harvesting scandal that has pummeled Facebook stock and resulted in Congressional inquiries. CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11, which chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) said would be "an important opportunity to shed light on critical consumer data privacy issues and help all Americans better understand what happens to their personal information online."

In addition to eliminating the ability to search for users by email and phone number, Facebook will also ensure that it does not collect the content of messages sent via its Messenger app or Facebook Lite on Android. 

The Menlo Park company admitted to Bloomberg on Wednesday that it's been scanning private messages between individuals communicating through Messenger to "make sure it follows the company's content rules." 

The company told Bloomberg that while Messenger conversations are private, Facebook scans them and uses the same tools to prevent abuse there that it does on the social network more generally. All content must abide by the same "community standards." People can report posts or messages for violating those standards, which would prompt a review by the company’s “community operations” team. Automated tools can also do the work. -Bloomberg

“For example, on Messenger, when you send a photo, our automated systems scan it using photo matching technology to detect known child exploitation imagery or when you send a link, we scan it for malware or viruses,” a Facebook Messenger spokeswoman said in a statement. “Facebook designed these automated tools so we can rapidly stop abusive behavior on our platform.”

Comments

Adolph.H. Thu, 04/05/2018 - 07:10 Permalink

Dear Zuckerberg,

You are being sacrificed because you did not toe to the line and declared you would run for prezz in 2020. Bad bad choice. That made a lot of people angry on DC. Maybe Hillary was among them, and you know she always gets what she wants. 

You should have remained at your place, gentle eunuch, and you wouldn't get all these issues now. 

Now wait until they get this wall torn down in Hawaii in the name of diversity. 

Next thing you know your Chinese spy wife will ask you to raise pigs on your estate for her visiting family that tends to stay longer and longer. 

Have fun!

 

In a non related issue we have:

https://www.aljazeera.com/investigations/thelobby/

Is it really unrelated? 

philipat jaap Thu, 04/05/2018 - 08:08 Permalink

So if Facefuck truly becomes holier than thou and cleans up its act; how does it make money? It's business model is collecting and selling your data to the highest bidder.

In reply to by jaap

Joe Davola Theosebes Goodfellow Thu, 04/05/2018 - 08:43 Permalink

Always play the over on the number of accounts affected by a data breach.  Any number less than their total number of individual records in their data base is just their PR department hoping to smooth things over until the news cycle has moved on.

And I'm quite certain that none of the other tech companies share the treasure trove of data they have on every user with anybody off the street, just anyone willing to give them a few bucks.

In reply to by Theosebes Goodfellow

A Sentinel Joe Davola Thu, 04/05/2018 - 09:46 Permalink

I’m pretty sure that I remember seeing an interface that allows you to see Facebook posts. It’s sold as a sentiment analysis tool but you can, if I remember correctly, use it to develop relationship trees and figure out customer relatedness structures too.

There’s a similar interface to Twitter. 

Those are free, I think (I’ve never used them) and that suggests a paid gateway behind the free ones. I don’t know what they would offer for fee.

In reply to by Joe Davola

DosZap philipat Thu, 04/05/2018 - 13:09 Permalink

To late,SUCKERBERG has made the same mistake HILLARY did, when he said his customers were DUMB FU*KS for believing him it was his DEPLORABLE moment on steroids.He cannot recover from that blatant, and really arrogant/stupid remark.Besides FB, has like most companies like them, crossed it's half life period the entertainment value for time invested is no longer paying off.

In reply to by philipat

telemann jaap Thu, 04/05/2018 - 12:23 Permalink

Interesting link, thanks.  The speaker is amazingly cocky about stealing other people's privacy.  No respect.  There were probably multiple malicious scrapers, DNC being one.

In reply to by jaap

Chupacabra-322 Arnold Thu, 04/05/2018 - 09:19 Permalink

I’m surprised how no one has mentioned this is how these sick, twisted, Pure Evil Criminal Psychopaths intend on creating their “Parallel Construction” of everyone.

 

Along with creating Blackmail & Control Files on everyone by the “Intelligance” Deep State. Especially the Criminal Compromised Politicians. 

 

In reply to by Arnold

Endgame Napoleon f.thomas Thu, 04/05/2018 - 08:24 Permalink

Maybe, it is like this:

Step 1 ~ Post a resume online, listing your crappy and not-so-crappy churn jobs, your degree, your licenses, etc. 

Step 2 ~ Fill out umpteen application forms with exactly the same information unless it is “scraped” out of your posted resume, presumably by the app after reading this. 

Step 3 ~ Check over your application, filling in all of the words strangely missing from the scraped resume, wondering why the app scraped some things but not others. 

——————- HR ———————-

Step 1 ~ Draw elaborate and imaginary psychological profiles of the applicant(s) for the $10-per-hour temp job, basing your concoctions on 1) a pricey psychology degree(s), 2) Oprah reruns or 3) whatever preconceived notions are cooked up behind the scenes in Big Corporate Behemoths or Big Politics. 

In reply to by f.thomas

Endgame Napoleon Arnold Thu, 04/05/2018 - 08:49 Permalink

Some of what people posted came with an expectation of privacy, such as private messages, but of course, FB is a business and, like any other business, is open to liability issues. 

They had to scan what people posted for evidence of criminal activity, because if FB did not do that, they could probably be sued from the other side if something bad happened. They likely do that scanning with impersonal bots, not with nosy-neighbor humans. 

It is not like liability issues are specific to the oh-so-different internet sphere, with its young, tech-savvy pioneers, facing issues that no other businesspeople have ever faced.

You cannot control what other people do in your small town Main Street shop, but you still might be on the line for it. Or, you must take precautions in case you are. It is tricky to police it when your bread and butter is involved.

You cannot let people run wild in an on-site business, but how do you stop them? In my shop, one parent just let his kids run wild, doing things that were dangerous. This was a good customer, and it was hard for me to say anything to him about it.

If they had injured themselves on our counter stools with wheels, rapidly lifting heavy objects with sharp ends off of the walls, we could have suffered economic loss. We had a very modest net income, while this customer was wealthy. The kids’ aunt came in and made them stop, telling the kids to respect someone else’s property. 

In reply to by Arnold

itstippy GunnerySgtHartman Thu, 04/05/2018 - 09:42 Permalink

It's not just Facebook, it's all the major internet companies.  I don't have a Facebook account, but my browsing actions are tracked and sold to advertisers.  Do some online comparison shopping, turn your Adblock software off, and see what ads come in.

Last Sunday I researched MIG welders (mine's dying).  I looked at prices and reviews for the different models and manufacturers.  I visited various sites where people discuss welders (Garage Journal, Weld Talk, Toyota Nation, Jalapy Journal, many others) and browsed.  I checked online retailers for welder prices and reviews (Amazon, Zoro, Nothern Tool, etc.).

If I turn off my Adblocker and see what ads are coming in it's full of welding related stuff - welders, wire, rods, gas, helmets, on and on.  My Junk email inbox is crammed with welder-related sale pitches.  All this because I spent two hours on a Sunday afternoon researching welders on the internet.

 

In reply to by GunnerySgtHartman