Approximately 6 million Facebook users had their email addresses or telephone numbers leaked to certain other users because of a bug, the social media provider disclosed on its website.
The posting says the company takes privacy and security seriously and strives to protect users’ information as best it can. But “even with a strong team, no company can ensure 100 percent prevention of bugs, and in rare cases we don’t discover a problem until it has already affected a person’s account,” the posting says.
Facebook says it recently received a report to its White Hat security program regarding the bug that enabled some of a person’s contact information (email or phone number) to be accessed by people who either had some contact information about that person or some connection to them.
How did it happen? When people upload their contact lists or address books to Facebook, the company says, it tries to match that data with the contact information of other people on Facebook in order to generate friend recommendations.
Because of the bug, some of the information used to make friend recommendations and reduce the number of invitations Facebook sends was inadvertently stored in association with people’s contact information as part of their account. As a result, if a person went to download an archive of his or her Facebook account through the company’s Download Your Information tool, they may have been provided with additional email addresses or telephone numbers for their contacts or people with whom they have some connection.
“This contact information was provided by other people on Facebook and was not necessarily accurate, but was inadvertently included with the contacts of the person using the DYI tool,” Facebook says.
After reviewing and confirming the bug, Facebook immediately disabled the DYI tool to fix the problem and was able to turn the tool back on the next day.
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