Last week, Facebook announced that a bug in their system compromised the personal information for 6 million users.
The information included names, emails and phone numbers. The way the breach worked out, one’s personal information would only be revealed to one or two people. Still, especially in the wake of the recent National Security Agency leaks about government surveillance, many were unnerved and the company is taking every measure to make this seem like a really serious issue for them and us. They sent personal messages to anyone effected by the breach.
“At Facebook,” began a post on the site’s blog, “we take people’s privacy seriously, and we strive to protect people’s information to the very best of our ability.”
Apparently, the breach was caused by a combination of user’s mobile information, contact lists and Facebook wanted you to recommend Facebook to contacts not already on Facebook (like those people exist).
“When people upload their contact lists or address books to Facebook, we try to match that data with the contact information of other people on Facebook in order to generate friend recommendations,” the post continued. “For example, we don’t want to recommend that people invite contacts to join Facebook if those contacts are already on Facebook; instead, we want to recommend that they invite those contacts to be their friends on Facebook.”
When someone used the Download Your Information feature, a select few were given a few additional names, emails and numbers.
“Because of the bug, some of the information used to make friend recommendations and reduce the number of invitations we send was inadvertently stored in association with people’s contact information as part of their account on Facebook,” the social media site said. “As a result, if a person went to download an archive of their Facebook account through our Download Your Information (DYI) 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.”
Think of it as sort of a “stalker’s surprise” or “creepy Christmas.”
However, the company says they have seen no evidence that the glitch was exploited in a malicious way nor have they received any complaints about the bug. Still, the bug was not comforting for OCD Facebook users.