Facebook: Yeah, we hoovered up 1.5 million email address books without permission. But it was an accident!

www.theregister.co.uk | 4/18/2019 | Staff
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Facebook has admitted to harvesting email contacts from 1.5 million people without permission.

Since May 2016, Facebook collected all email contacts when some new users signed up to the antisocial network.

Security - Researcher - Sports - E-sushi - Twitter

An anonymous security researcher, who sports the handle e-sushi on Twitter, first noticed that the company was asking some new users to enter their email passwords to verify their identities, a deeply anti-security request even on its own. Business Insider then spotted that if you did this a dialogue box popped up warning you – with no chance to cancel, pause or opt out – that it was importing all your contacts.

The company has now admitted that the emails were collected, analysed, used for ad targeting and to push its add-a-friend feature.

Facebook - Before - May - Option - Contacts

Facebook said that before May 2016 it had offered an option to voluntarily upload all contacts while using your email password for verification. It then changed the text informing users of what was happening but neglected to remove the functionality which sucked up the contacts.

The company said it didn't read the contents of the emails and that the actual contacts were "inadvertently uploaded".

Business - Insider

Business Insider pointed out that...
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