Facebook collected 1.5 million email contacts from users without their knowledge


The world's largest social network said on Wednesday night that the email contact lists were sent "unintentionally" to Facebook (FB) after a design change almost two years ago, and the company was now in the process of excluding them.

Facebook said the problem started three years ago when it made changes to the step-by-step verification process that users spend when they sign up for an account on the platform. Prior to these changes, users had the option of sending their contact lists by email when opening an account to help them find friends already on Facebook.

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But in May 2016, Facebook removed the language that explained that users' contact lists could be sent to company servers when they subscribed to an account. This means that in some cases, people's email contact lists have been uploaded to Facebook without their knowledge or consent.

A Facebook spokesman said on Wednesday that the company did not realize that this was happening until April this year when it stopped offering email password verification as an option for people who sign up for Facebook for the first time turn.

"When we looked at 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 the account," added the spokesman.

The company said the lists of contacts sent by mistake were not shared with anyone outside of Facebook. The news was first reported by Business Insider on Wednesday.
Ashkan Soltani, the former chief technology officer of the Federal Trade Commission, tweeted Wednesday night which he felt was "one of the most legally actionable behaviors of @facebook to this day."

"I am confident regulators will take a look," he said.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez left Facebook. Good for her
The incident is Rock's latest privacy issue, which has more than two billion users worldwide. For the past 18 months, they have included the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and the biggest security breach in its history.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded to the criticism by promising to introduce more measures focused on platform privacy, such as encrypted messaging and better data security.
Facebook was also embroiled in controversy after a New Zealand sniper lived his March 15 attacking two mosques in Christchurch using the video tools of the social network. The shooter killed 50 people.
His instant messaging application WhatsApp has been accused of allowing the spread of misinformation in India.


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