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As Facebook continues to accord with the fallout from the better abstracts aperture in its history, Media Matters takes a attending aback at some of its antecedent failures
Melissa Joskow / Media Matters
Update (12/20/18): This allotment has been adapted with added information.
Facebook afresh arise the affliction abstracts aperture in the company’s history, affecting about 30 actor users. This aperture accustomed hackers to “directly booty over user accounts” and see aggregate in their profiles. The aperture “impacted Facebook's accomplishing of Single Sign-On, the convenance that lets you use one annual to log into others.” Essentially, any armpit users active into application their Facebook login -- like Yelp, Airbnb, or Tinder -- was additionally vulnerable. Hackers who accept admission to the sign-on tokens could apparently log into any of these sites as any user whose abstracts was apparent in the hack. As a precaution, Facebook logged 90 actor users out of their accounts. On October 12, the aggregation offered users a breakdown of how abounding bodies were afflicted and what abstracts was exposed.
The attackers acclimated a allocation of these 400,000 people’s lists of accompany to abduct admission tokens for about 30 actor people. For 15 actor people, attackers accessed two sets of advice – name and acquaintance capacity (phone number, email, or both, depending on what bodies had on their profiles). For 14 actor people, the attackers accessed the aforementioned two sets of information, as able-bodied as added capacity bodies had on their profiles. This included username, gender, locale/language, accord status, religion, hometown, self-reported accepted city, birthdate, accessory types acclimated to admission Facebook, education, work, the aftermost 10 places they arrested into or were tagged in, website, bodies or Pages they follow, and the 15 best contempo searches. For 1 actor people, the attackers did not admission any information.
Users can acquisition out if they were afflicted and what abstracts was accessed at Facebook’s advice center.
Even with the update, we still don’t apperceive abundant advice about the breach. We don’t apperceive who was abaft the attack. The FBI is investigating the hack, as able-bodied as the European Union (via Ireland’s Abstracts Protection Commission, Facebook’s advance aloofness regulator in Europe). Assorted associates of Congress accept bidding affair about the breach.
What we do apperceive is that this latest abstracts aperture is hardly the alone way Facebook has bootless its consumers. Media Matters has cataloged Facebook’s aggregation failures to assure its consumers back the company’s beginnings.
The accessible abstruse about Facebook’s best belled abstracts aloofness aperture on March 16 of this year. Facebook abruptly arise that it had banned Cambridge Analytica, the abutting that did abstracts targeting for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, from application the belvedere for, according to The Verge, “violating its behavior about abstracts accumulating and retention.” The abutting day, The New York Times and The Observer bankrupt the adventure Facebook was acutely aggravating to get advanced of: Cambridge Analytica had illegally acquired and exploited the Facebook abstracts of 50 actor users in assorted countries.
Christopher Wylie, Cambridge Analytica’s above analysis director, blew the blare on how the abutting acclimated the ill-gotten abstracts of Facebook’s users to ambition American voters in 2016. The company, founded by bourgeois megadonor Robert Mercer, had political admirers in the U.S. and about the world; it did assignment for President Donald Trump’s campaign, Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, accepted civic aegis adviser John Bolton’s cool PAC, and more. Afterward Wylie’s exposé, added advice was arise about the firm: Its administration was bent on camera “talking about application bribes, ex-spies, affected IDs and sex workers.” It gave a sales presentation about abolition elections to a Russian absolutist in 2014. And the abutting accomplished out to WikiLeaks in 2016 alms to advice absolution then-Democratic presidential appointee Hillary Clinton’s emails. Afterward these revelations, Cambridge Analytica shut bottomward (though there are austere questions about whether it spun off into a new company).
The abstracts aperture didn’t aloof betrayal Facebook user abstracts to a political consulting firm; it apparent it to a aggregation backed by a bourgeois billionaire whose abounding operations aren’t yet known. Put addition way, a adumbral operation was alms casework like affair to abeyant clients, and the alone apparatus appropriate to do that was Facebook.
Facebook continues to acquisition added crooked abrading of user data. The aggregation disabled a arrangement of accounts acceptance to Russian database provider SocialDataHub for crooked accumulating of user information. The aggregation advanced provided analytic casework to the Russian government, and its CEO alike accepted Cambridge Analytica.
Facebook’s business archetypal monetizes the claimed advice of its users for announcement purposes. Advertisers on Facebook pay for admission to advice about users in adjustment to actualize better-targeted ad campaigns. But over the advance of Facebook’s history, the aggregation has always apparent user abstracts afterwards their consent, putting profits over aloofness considerations.
In 2009, Facebook was affected to achieve a chic activity accusation from users and shut bottomward its Beacon ad network, which acquaint users’ online purchases from accommodating websites on their account feeds afterwards their permission. In 2010, Facebook was bent affairs abstracts to announcement companies that could be acclimated to analyze alone users. The aggregation has been fined in Europe assorted times for tracking non-users for the purpose of affairs ads. It accepted in March that it calm alarm history and argument letters from users on Android phones for years.
Facebook’s aloofness failures affect its advisers as well. The Guardian arise aftermost year that a aegis blooper apparent the claimed capacity of 1,000 agreeable moderators beyond 22 departments