Facebook confirms uploading 1.5 million users' email contact without consent

US-internet-lifestyle-computers-media

US-internet-lifestyle-computers-media

Facebook said it didn't mean to upload these contacts, and is now in the process of deleting them.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that before May 2016, it offered an option to verify a user's account and voluntarily upload their contacts at the same time. According to Business Insider's report, the company then promptly started harvesting those emails for the users' email contact lists, but Facebook says this contact data was "unintentionally uploaded" to the company's servers.

A spokesperson continued: "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". Changes in May 2016, however, allowed the contact lists of about 1.5 million users to be uploaded to Facebook without users' knowledge. We've fixed the underlying issue and are notifying people whose contacts were imported.

The collected email contacts have been integrated into Facebook's system, meaning they were used to establish social connections and could have also been used for ad targeting, but that remains unclear.

In late March, security researchers expressed concern about this phishing-like approach by Facebook.

Block China Mobile from USA , says FCC chairman
This fear of spying on behalf of the government in China played a big part in Pai's opposition to the application. According to The Verge , the FCC and executive branch rejected China Mobile's possible mitigation agreement.

Business Insider yesterday reported that some of those who did enter their passwords were presented with a popup informing them that their contacts were being imported-without asking for permission.

A person holds a smartphone with the Facebook logo in front of displayed "top secret" and "email" words, in this picture illustration taken December 6, 2018.

Facebook is facing the heat over several data scandals, including the massive Cambridge Analytica scandal where personal information of up to 87 million users was leaked. The user would not be able to stop the importing of contacts once the process started. That could have a big impact on how news and other content is shared.

The issue was first noticed in early April, when the Daily Beast reported on Facebook's practice of asking for email passwords to verify new users.

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