Fixed Issue in 2019: Facebook Over ‘Data Leak’ of 533 Mn Users

The leaked data has been posted for free on hacking forums and includes personal details of users.

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Facebook is facing the heat in another controversy after a major privacy breach concerning data leak of 533 million users on its platform from over 100 countries.
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Facebook is facing the heat in another controversy after an alleged major privacy breach concerning data leak of 533 million users on its platform from over 100 countries.

The leaked data has been posted for free on hacking forums and includes date of joining, place of work, names, gender, occupation and relationship status of users, reported The Indian Express.

Alon Gal, co-founder and chief technical officer of cybersecurity firm Hudson Rock drew attention to the leak in a Twitter post on Sunday, 4 April. He said, “If you have a Facebook account, it is extremely likely the phone number used for the account was leaked.”

"This is old data that was previously reported in 2019. We found and fixed this issue in August 2019," says a Facebook spokesperson, as per news agency ANI.

The database, first leaked in 2019 was sold on Telegram for $20 per search, after which Facebook announced that they had addressed the leak. In January 2021, the database was leaked for the third time (after another leak on June 2020), with the vulnerability that allowed for the search of users’ contact numbers, reported The Indian Express.

Government Pressure on Facebook

Earlier, on Thursday, 21 January, representatives of Facebook India were grilled on WhatsApp’s new contentious privacy policy update by the Parliamentary Committee on IT, according to members who were present at the meeting.

The meeting, chaired by senior Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor convened at 4 pm and lasted over three hours.

The meeting came soon after the government intervened into the WhatsApp privacy update issue and sent a letter with 14 questions on the Facebook-owned messaging app’s privacy policy.

The Government of India on 19 January, wrote to the CEO of WhatsApp, Will Cathcart, asking the messaging platform to withdraw the proposed changes to its privacy policy for Indian users. WhatsApp, on its part, on 20 January, said that the proposed changes do not expand their ability to share user data with Facebook.

Earlier, on 2 September 2020, Facebook India’s Managing Director Ajit Mohan was grilled for over two and a half hour by the Parliamentary Committee on IT on the issues of alleged political bias through former top executive Ankhi Das, The Quint had reported.

(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

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