Facebook fined $5bn over Cambridge Analytica scandal










US regulators the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved a fine of $5 billion on Facebook to settle an investigation into Cambridge Analytica scandal, reports in US media. 

The commission was investigating the data breach that that affected more than 87 million Facebook users. 

The main focus of the investigation was to find out whether Facebook had violated a 2011 agreement which prohibits companies from obtaining users data without notifying them. 

"With the FTC either unable or unwilling to put in place reasonable guardrails to ensure that user privacy and data are protected, it's time for Congress to act," US Senator Mark Warner said.

The fine of $5bn was sanctioned by the FTC in a 3-2 vote with Republican commissioners in favor and Democrats opposed.

According to the New York Times report the Democrats wanted to take stricter action against the firm,  while other Democrats criticized that the fine is too less. 








Fake Messages on WhatsApp Asks the Users to Pay Money in Order to Continue Using the App




WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram suffered a social media outage on 3rd July which affected the users all across the world. As a consequence of the outage, users were not able to access the platforms properly and certain features became dysfunctional. During the outage, a lot of people in India got messages on their WhatsApp telling that the app is down due to over usage and it would be off from 11:30 PM to 6:00 AM every day. The message also asked users to forward the text message to their contacts in order to continue using the app service otherwise their account would be made inaccessible and the app services will no longer be free of charge for them.

The fake message which was circulated on WhatsApp is as follows:

“What's app will b off From 11.30pm to 6:00 am daily Declared by central govt. Message from Narendra Modi (PM) we have had an over usage of user names on WhatsApp Messenger. We are requesting all users to forward this message to their entire contact list. If you do not forward this message, we will take it as your account is invalid and it will be deleted within the next 48 hours. DO NOT ignore my words or whatsapp will no longer recognise your activation. If you wish to re-activate your account after it has been deleted, a charge of 499.00 will be added to your monthly bill. We are also aware of the issue involving the pictures updates not showing. We are working diligently at fixing this problem and it will be up and running as soon as possible. Thank you for your cooperation from the modi team. WhatsApp is going to cost you money soon. The only way that it will stay free is if you are a frequent user i.e. you have at least 50 people you are chatting with. To become a frequent user send this message to 10 people who receive it (2 ticks) and your WhatsApp logo will change color. send this to 8 people to activate the new whatsapp..
Saturday morning whatsapp will become chargeable. If you have at least 10 contacts send them this message. In this way, we will see that you are an avid user and your logo will become blue and will remain free. (As discussed in the paper today. Whatsapp will cost 0.01€ per message. Send this message to 10 people. When you do the light will turn blue otherwise whatsapp will activate billing. ITS TRUE ...... U get blue TICKS"

Likewise, another fake message claimed that WhatsApp has been sold off to Mukesh Ambani and asks users to forward the message to 10 people in order to activate the new WhatsApp along with Facebook services.

The entire message read:
"Dont ignore please read it carefully" Hello, I. Am VARUN PULYANI director of whatsapp, this message is to inform all of our users that we have sold whatsapp to Mukesh Ambani . Reliance for 19 billion $. WhatsApp is now controlled by mukesh Ambani . If you have at least 10 contacts send this sms and logo of your whatsapp will change to a new icon with facebook's "f" within 24 hours.Forward this message to more than 10 people to activate your new whatsapp with Facebook services or else your account will be deleted from new servers.
This is the final notice! Hello everyone, it seems that all the warnings were real, the use of WhatsApp cost money from November 2017. If you send this string to 18 different on your list, your icon will be blue and will be free for you. If you do not believe me see tomorrow at 6 pm ending WhatsApp and have to pay to open it, this is by law This message is to inform all of our users, our servers have recently been very congested, so we are asking you to help us solve this problem. We require our active users to forward this message to each of the people in your contact list to confirm our active users using WhatsApp, if you do not send this message to all your contacts WhatsApp will then start to charge you. Your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all your contacts. Message from Jim Balsamic (CEO of Whatsapp ) we have had an over usage of user names on whatsapp Messenger. We are requesting all users to forward this message to their entire contact list. If you do not forward this message, we will take it as your account is invalid and it will be deleted within the next 48 hours. Please DO NOT ignore this message or whatsapp will no longer recognise your activation. If you wish to re-activate your account after it has been deleted, a charge of 25.00 will be added to your monthly bill. We are also aware of the issue involving the pictures updates not showing. We are working diligently at fixing this problem and it will be up and running as soon as possible. Thank you for your cooperation from the Whatsapp team”

Users are advised to not believe such fake messages and avoid spreading the misinformation further by forwarding it to other users.




Global outage affecting Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp around the world







Social media services owned by Facebook were down for several hours for users around the world. The outage was affecting the entire ‘family of apps.’
Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp faced the outage from the early Morning on Wednesday, some users reported issues in uploading and downloading the images, video and audio files, while some of them faced difficulties in the News Feed. 

Facebook acknowledged the technical glitch and tweeted from their global Twitter handle stating that “We're aware that some people are having trouble uploading or sending images, videos or other files on our apps. We're sorry for the trouble and are working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible." 

The outage affected users across Asia, Europe, USA, and Africa. 

Users vented out their frustration against the three social media website on their Twitter accounts with the hashtags #instagramdown, #facebookdown and #whatsappdown, all of these hashtags were top trends on the site across the world. 

Instagram was forced to issue its own statement on Twitter. "We're sorry for the trouble and are working to get things back to normal as quickly as possible" Instagram tweeted.



Facebook to launch a new digital cryptocurrency





Social media giant Facebook is set to roll out a new digital cryptocurrency, Libra, next year, which would let users’ buy things as well as send money to people without any process fees. 

People would be able to make payments with the currency via    third-party wallet apps or Facebook’s own Calibra wallet that will be built into WhatsApp, Messenger and its own app. 

It is said that firms such as Uber and Visa will accept it in future.

From next year, Facebook users’ will be able to buy Libra from its platforms and then it will be stored in a digital wallet called Calibra.

The user can make payments and send money to other  users, and this whole process would instant and as easy as texting. 

"In time, we hope to offer additional services for people and businesses, such as paying bills with the push of a button, buying a cup of coffee with the scan of a code, or riding your local public transit without needing to carry cash or a metro pass,” it said. 

However, there is a big concern over how users’ money and data will be protected. 

The firm stressed that Libra would not be managed solely by the Facebook, but it would be independent, and run by a group of companies and charities- called the Libra Association.

Group of companies that are likely to accept Libra, includes
  • Payments firms such as Mastercard and PayPal
  • Digital businesses including eBay, Spotify and Uber
  • Telecoms firms such as Vodafone
  • And charities such as the microfinance group Women's World Banking.



Facebook Monitors Users' Offline Behaviour





Facebook is now tracking its user's offline activity to keep a log of suspected 'hate agents’.

A document, titled “Hate Agent Policy Review,” was obtained by Breitbart News, from a source inside Facebook. It outlines a series of rules and regulations that would determine if someone is a  ‘hate agent’ or not.

The social media giant will monitor users activity on other websites and even their private lives, such as whether they have a 'hate symbol' tattoo or not. 

According to this memo ex-UKIP MEP candidate Carl Benjamin among Facebook's hate agents.

Facebook’s spokesperson said to MailOnline, ’As our Community Standards make clear, we’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of their ideology or motivation. 

'The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and we consider a number of different signals.' 


However, Facebook has pledged to bans all individuals and organizations engaging in violence or hate, regardless of ideological motivations.


Facebook's Defunct Research Program Collects 'Untargeted' Data That May Be Sensitive On Almost 200K Users



Facebook's recently launched research program came down with a huge crash as it 'harvested the potential sensitive personal data' of approximately 187,000 people around the globe, including a large number of teenagers of the US.

Apple had already prohibited the use of the application practically about a year back and correspondences among Facebook and Sen. Richard Blumenthal's office detail the breadth of the organization's data collection program for the first time since then.

As indicated by those emails, of the about 190,000 individuals participating, 31,000 were US residents and 4,300 of those natives were between the ages of 13 to 17-years of old. The remaining users were located in India, says the report.

The now-banned research program named Project Atlas and the Research application were although terminated not long ago after reports came of the abuse of a special developer's certificate that enabled the organization to sidestep Apple's App Store.

In the program, the participants were paid $20 every month to download an altered VPN, in which the organization sucked up an enormous sum of personal data, including web browsing histories, encrypted messages, application activity, and much more.

Apple repudiated the enterprise privileges of both Facebook and Google which was likewise observed to manhandle its developers certificate.

Facebook said it decided not to decrypt the majority of the data collected by the program and didn't expand on what the 'non-targeted' content was cleared up in the process.

The contention though hasn't halted Facebook from proceeding to seek after mobile users data through broad market program.



Regardless in another 'iteration announced' only the earlier week called 'Facebook Study,' only accessible through Google Pay, the company says it will compensate users in return for a variety of data points about precisely how and when they use apps on their phones.


Manipur Engineer Enters Facebook’s “Hall Of Fame 2019” By Discovering a Privacy Breach Bug



Zonel Sougaijam, a 22-year-old civil engineer, was recently honoured by Facebook for discovering a WhatsApp bug that violated the privacy of a user.

Mr. Sougaijam told PTI, in the wake of discovering the bug, that he had reported the issue to the Bug Bounty Program of the Facebook, which manages infringement of privacy matters, in March.

“During a voice call through WhatsApp, the bug used to allow the caller to upgrade it to a video call without the authorisation and knowledge of the receiver. The caller was then able to see what the other person was doing, violating the privacy of the receiver,” he said.

Zonel Sougaijam, the 22-year-old civil engineer

His report was hence acknowledged by the Facebook Security Team the immediate next day and its technical department fixed the bug under 15-20 days. The social media giant then proceeded to award him with a bounty of $5000 at the same time incorporating him in the 'Facebook Hall of Fame 2019', for detecting the WhatsApp bug.

Sougaijam's name is right now at the 16th position in a rundown of 94 people, in the 'Facebook Hall of Fame' for the current year.

Facebook had obtained Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014. The organization has been entangled in data privacy concerns and political ramifications of its calculations throughout the most recent couple of years.



Facebook Publishes Its Latest "Enforcement Report”; Removes More Than Three Billion Fake Accounts and Seven Million "Hate Speech" Posts




Facebook has sought to expel more than three billion fake accounts alongside more than approximately seven million "hate speech" posts as it distributed its most recent "enforcement report", which subtleties what number of posts and records it made a move on between October 2018 and March 2019.

The Social Networking company's Chief Executive Zuckerberg clarifies when he hit back against various calls to break Facebook, “I don't think that the remedy of breaking up the company is going to address [the problem]," he said.

He displayed his contention defending Facebook's size made it conceivable to protect against the network's problems.

While move was made on more than one million posts selling weapons in the sixth month time frame covered by the report. The social network will now also report what numbers of posts were evacuated for selling "regulated goods”, for example, drugs and guns.

For certain sorts of content, like child sex abuse imagery, violence and terrorist propaganda, the report evaluates how frequently such a content was 'actually seen' by individuals on Facebook.

For the first time though, the report reveals that between January and March 2019 more than one million appeals were made after posts were erased for "hate speech". Also, moreover around 150,000 posts that were found not to have broken the hate speech policy were re - established amid that period.

Facebook said the report featured, "areas where we could be more open in order to build more accountability and responsiveness to the people who use our platform".

Zuckerberg however assured any doubts the reporters might have saying that, “The success of the company has allowed us to fund these efforts at a massive level. I think the amount of our budget that goes toward our safety systems...”




Targeted Surveillance Attack on Whatsapp





The Facebook owned entity was recently a target of the hackers who had the option to remotely install surveillance softwares on phones and different devices utilizing a rather major vulnerability in the messaging app.

The attack incorporated of attackers utilizing WhatsApp's voice calling function to ring a target's device and regardless of whether the call was not received or not, the surveillance software could be installed. As per the Financial Times report which also speculates that the surveillance software included was created by an Israeli firm NSO Group, the call would frequently disappear from the device’s call log.

WhatsApp told the BBC its security team was the first to recognize the flaw. It imparted that info with human rights groups, chose the security vendors and the US Department of Justice prior this month.

"The attack has all the hallmarks of a private company reportedly that works with governments to deliver spyware that takes over the functions of mobile phone operating systems,” the company said on Monday in a briefing document note for journalists.

WhatsApp said it was too soon to realize what number of users had been affected by the vulnerability, in spite of the fact that it included that the suspected attacks were exceptionally focused on. As indicated by the New York Times, one of the general populations targeted on was a London-based lawyer associated with a claim against the NSO Group.

Although a fix was “rolled out “on Friday, on Monday, WhatsApp requested the majority of its 1.5 billion users to update their applications as an additional precautionary measure.

How to update WhatsApp?

Android
  1. Open the Google Play store
  2. Tap the menu at the top left of the screen
  3. Tap My Apps & Games
  4. If WhatsApp has recently been updated, it will appear in the list of apps with a button that says Open
  5. If WhatsApp has not been automatically updated, the button will say Update. Tap Update to install the new version
  6. The latest version of WhatsApp on Android is 2.19.134

iOS
  1. Open the App Store
  2. At the bottom of the screen, tap Updates
  3. If WhatsApp has recently been updated, it will appear in the list of apps with a button that says Open
  4. If WhatsApp has not been automatically updated, the button will say Update. Tap Update to install the new version
  5. The latest version of WhatsApp on iOS is 2.19.51



Facebook to redesign Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram



Facebook is coming up with a series of changes to all its social media networks including Instagram and Whatsapp.

According to its boss Mark Zuckerberg the new designs and features will focus on privacy first. The company decided to change its apps after facing widespread criticism for handling users data.

"We don’t exactly have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to put it lightly," Zuckerberg said.

Here is list of changes in the app:

  • All the messages sent via Messenger will be end-to-end encrypted by default, and the platform will be fully integrated with WhatsApp
  • Instagram will hide like counts, but not the account owner
  • A WhatsApp secure payment service would be introduced in other countries later this year.
  • The Facebook app is being redesigned to make community groups central to the newsfeed - and the distinctive blue branding is going. The redesign is rolling out in the US and then more widely straight away.
  • Users will be able to post text, stickers or drawings on their Instagram post rather than starting it with a photo or a video. 

Other than this, Facebook has introduced a new feature called Secret Crush, which is a part of Facebook Dating. This feature will let Facebook members to tag up to nine of their crushes. 

If the recipient of the crush is also using the feature and nominates them as well, then both parties will receive a message to say they have matched.

Facebook Dating will roll out in 14 new countries, but will not be available in Europe or the US.



Facebook Now Cracking Down On Third-Party Apps in the Wake of the Cambridge Analytica Scandal




Almost a year after the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, last March, wherein the data of around 87 million users' was gathered and imparted to the Trump-affiliated campaign research firm without their assent Facebook is taking action against certain third-party applications that gulp up enormous amounts of user data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Facebook said in a blog post that it will never again permit applications with 'minimal utility,' like personality quizzes, to operate on the platform.

Eddie O'Neil, head of platform at Facebook, said in the post, 'As part of our ongoing commitments to privacy and security, we are making updates to our platform...our Facebook Platform Policies are being updated to include provisions that apps with minimal utility, such as personality quizzes, may not be permitted on the platform.

'The update also clarifies that apps may not ask for data that doesn't enrich the in-app, user experience,' he added later.

Be that as it may, as The Verge called attention to the fact that the issue didn't exactly originate from quiz applications, but instead Facebook's lax policies around user data management and how developers had the capacity to collect data from "friends of friends".

It comes as Facebook on Wednesday revealed that it hopes to take on a one-time charge between $3 billion and $5 billion identified with a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. As last March, the FTC opened an investigation concerning Facebook's data dealings after the Cambridge Analytica scandal first came into light.

While O'Neill stated, 'Going forward, we will periodically review, audit and remove permissions that your app has not sued, developers can submit for App Review to re-gain access to expired permissions.'

What's more, presently, Facebook expects to keep developer from getting to user information on the off chance that it identifies that a user hasn't opened the app in the previous 90 days.


Canadian Investigation Found Facebook to be Violating Privacy Laws



On Thursday, Canadian officials said that owing to its assailable security algorithms, Facebook exposed sensitive information of millions of its users. It has been counted as a critical failure on the company’s part which it did admit to letting happen but denied to fix.

Facebook has violated local as well as national laws when it gave access to private data of millions of its users to third parties, according to an investigation conducted by the information and privacy commissioner of British Columbia and the privacy commissioner for Canada.

The company CEO, Mark Zuckerberg put forth an apology for the major breach of trust that happened in the political scandal associated with Cambridge Analytica, however, they did not take into consideration the issued recommendations regarding the prevention of further exploitation of user data.

Putting the same into perspective, at a news conference, Daniel Therrien, head at federal privacy watchdog, said, “There’s a significant gap between what they say and what they do,”

As the regulators decided to push Facebook to a Canadian federal court which is likely to impose fines on the company, Mr. Therrien told that, “historically there have been very small penalties — in the tens of thousands of dollars.”

Facebook told the investigators that it does not agree with their findings, in response, Mr. Therrien said, “I find that absolutely untenable that a company can tell a regulator that it does not respect its findings.”

Furthermore, he asserted the need to have more authorities for the inspection of companies and even strict privacy laws in the North American country, Canada.

Reportedly, Facebook has denied audits of its privacy procedures and said that it has taken necessary measures against the problems raised by the investigators.

Referenced from the statements given by Facebook on the account, “there’s no evidence that Canadians’ data was shared with Cambridge Analytica, and we’ve made dramatic improvements to our platform to protect people’s personal information.”

“After many months of good-faith cooperation and lengthy negotiations, we are disappointed” that regulators consider the issues raised in this report unresolved,” the company added.




Facebook expecting fine of $5 billion over privacy issues







Facebook said that they are keeping $5 billion aside as it is expected to be fined by the Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations. 

The social media website disclosed the amount in its first quarter earnings for 2019, stating that it is estimating a one-time fine of $3 billion to $5 billion, but the matter is unresolved and the negotiation is ongoing. 

“In the first quarter of 2019, we reasonably estimated a probable loss and recorded an accrual of $3.0 billion in connection with the inquiry of the FTC into our platform and user data practices, which accrual is included in accrued expenses and other current liabilities on our condensed consolidated balance sheet,” the company writes in its earnings statement. 

“We estimate that the range of loss in this matter is $3 billion to $5 billion. The matter remains unresolved, and there can be no assurance as to the timing or the terms of any final outcome.”

Facebook is negotiating with the regulator for months over a violation of 2011 privacy consent decree. 

According to the decree, the company promised a series of measures to protect its users’ privacy after an investigation found that its handling of data had harmed consumers.

However, the company came under fire once again last year, and F.T.C opened the case after the Cambridge Analytica fiasco in which personal information of nearly 50 million users were breached. 


Meanwhile, the F.T.C. declined to comment.


Facebook leaks millions of Instagram passwords

2018 – What a year was it for Facebook! Data scandals and security leaks, issues from Cambridge Analytica and trails by authorities, Facebook have gone under every shit it’s connected with.

And the problems just keep coming in 2019. And in this year, it seemed to have enough already by internal probs, where is announced in a blog post last month saying, “Millions of users passwords were stored in a readable format in their databases!”

Just a day after the social networking giant admitted that it "unintentionally" uploaded email contacts of nearly 1.5 million of new users, Facebook has now revealed that it exposed millions of Instagram users' passwords in a data-security lapse. The password exposure is part of the security breach that was first reported last month by Krebs on Security. Admitting the security blunder, Facebook has said that the company it stored passwords of millions of users in plain text on its internal servers.

However, at that time Facebook claimed that “hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users” and “tens of millions of other Facebook users” have been affected. Incidentally, the company has chosen just to update the old blog post while making the new revelation. "This is an issue that has already been widely reported, but we want to be clear that we simply learned there were more passwords stored in this way," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. Here's all you need to know about this latest 'password leak' from Facebook ...

The process was unintentional – according to Facebook – and happened when users were prompted for their password as part of a security verification process. It's been going on since May 2016 but Facebook says its now deleting all the scraped data.

In the updated post Facebook says: We will be notifying these users as we did the others.

Facebook 'unintentionally' uploaded the email addresses of 1.5 million users without their knowledge


On Wednesday, Facebook admitted that it happened to upload email addresses of 1.5 million users without their consent. However, the contacts were not distributed to anyone and the company said that all the users whose email addresses were uploaded will be sent a notification stating the same.

While the company is in the process of deleting the imported contacts, it said that it had no intentions of uploading these user contacts and will delete them soon.
In the recent years, Facebook fall prey to various security-related problems, including the major Cambridge Analytica political scandal which revealed that the personal data of millions of users has been harvested from their Facebook profiles by Cambridge Analytica to be used for political purposes; another major hit that the company took was a glitch which put to risk the passwords of millions of people.
Facebook has been battling public relation issues for the management of its users’ personal data which it shared with app developers who paid handsomely for advertisements and those who were friends with the company CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
This month, sensitive documents dealing with internal deliberations over personal data of users were leaked. The documents, which comprised of presentations, emails, meeting summaries and spreadsheets, were shared by a British journalist to various media outlets, as per by NBC News.
Reportedly, the documents indicated deliberations over the selling of users’ data to third-party app developers and seemingly, Facebook decided against it. However, they opt to share the data with CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s friends who in-turn provided their valuable data or spend a huge amount of money on Facebook advertisements.  
A report indicated that Facebook finalized deals of sharing their user data with developers of Sony, Microsoft, Tinder, and Amazon, whereas access to the same information to others was restricted by Facebook.
Referencing from the statements given by Facebook VP and Deputy General Counsel Paul Grewald, 'The documents were selectively leaked as part of what the court found was evidence of a crime or fraud to publish some, but not all, of the internal discussions at Facebook at the time of our platform changes. But the facts are clear: we've never sold people's data,
'The set of documents, by design, tells only one side of the story and omits important context,' he added.  





Instagram bug showed stories of strangers






A bug on Instagram has affected the story tray which shows stories from people the users’ follow, but this bug has violated the privacy policy for some of the users’ by displaying the stories from people whom they don’t even follow. 

The Facebook owned company confirmed the existence of the technical glitch to TechCrunch, in the meantime they claimed that the glitch was resolved in a few hours.

According to the company, the bug "caused a small number of people's Instagram Stories trays to show accounts they don't follow." 

It did not displayed the full stories if the accounts were private, but it showed the whole stories if the accounts were public. 

The company believes that only small portion of the users’ were impacted by this glitch. However, there are nearly 500 million users’, and even the small fraction of affected users’ could have a great impact. 

A Twitter @internetryan drew everyone’s attention when he first reported the problem on the social tweeting about the bug,  'Hey @Instagram/@facebook, people who I don't follow (with private accounts) are showing up in my Stories.’



Facebook cannot guarantee interference-free EU elections: Zuckerberg

Facebook Inc is much better than it was in 2016 at tackling election interference but cannot guarantee the site will not be used to undermine European Parliament elections in May, Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said on Tuesday.

Chastened since suspected Russian operatives used Facebook and other social media to influence an election that surprisingly brought Donald Trump to power in the United States, Facebook has said it has ploughed resources and staff into safeguarding the May 26 EU vote.

Zuckerberg said there had been a lot of important elections since 2016 that have been relatively clean and demonstrated the defenses it has built up to protect their integrity.

“We’ve certainly made a lot of progress ... But no, I don’t think anyone can guarantee in a world where you have nation states that are trying to interfere in elections, there’s no single thing we can do and say okay we’ve now solved the issue,” Zuckerberg told Irish national broadcaster RTE in an interview.

“This is an ongoing arms race where we’re constantly building up our defenses and these sophisticated governments are also evolving their tactics.”

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia ran a disinformation and hacking operation to undermine the American democratic process and help Republican Trump’s 2016 campaign. Moscow denies interfering in the election.

Under pressure from EU regulators to do more to guard against foreign meddling in the bloc’s upcoming legislative election, Facebook toughened its rules on political advertising in Europe last week.

It also announced plans to ramp up efforts to fight misinformation ahead of the vote and will partner with German news agency DPA to boost its fact checking. 


Hundreds of millions of Facebook users data exposed on Amazon cloud servers




Security researchers have found a large data trove exposed  to public on Amazon's cloud computing servers.

The security experts at a cybersecurity firm, UpGuard found two separate sets of Facebook user data on public Amazon cloud servers, the firm wrote a detail blogpost. 

One of the dataset that was exposed belonged to the Mexican media company Cultura Colectiva, which contained more than 540m records, including likes, comments, reactions, Facebook IDs, account names, etc. While, the other set belonged to a defunct Facebook app named ‘At the Pool’, which was significantly smaller, but contained plaintext passwords for 22,000 users.

‘’The data sets vary in when they were last updated, the data points present, and the number of unique individuals in each. What ties them together is that they both contain data about Facebook users, describing their interests, relationships, and interactions, that were available to third party developers,’’ the blogpost.

‘’Data about Facebook users has been spread far beyond the bounds of what Facebook can control today. Combine that plenitude of personal data with storage technologies that are often misconfigured for public access, and the result is a long tail of data about Facebook users that continues to leak,’’ it further added.

However, Facebook has launched an investigation into the matter, but they do not the nature of the data, how it was collected or why it was stored on public servers. The company said it will inform users once they will find evidence that the data was misused.




Mark Zuckerberg's Previous Facebook Posts Deleted, the Company Blames Technical Errors


The public posts made by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg on his personal Facebook profile have been deleted; it included some of the critical updates and important announcements made by the company. All the information shared by Zuckerberg in the year 2007 and 2008 has also vanished.
On being enquired, a spokesperson of Facebook said that these posts which included the major announcements like the one regarding the acquisition of Instagram were erased mistakenly because of some technical errors. Another crucial announcement which was disappeared is Zuckerberg’s promise to keep Instagram free from Facebook.
However, today Instagram is integrated more closely by Facebook than what was said to be. The matter is reported to be escalated to an extent that it led two of Instagram’s co-founders to resign last year.

The deletion of the post where Mark pledged to build and grow Instagram separately is the highlight as Zuckerberg seemingly did not abide by it. 

'Every day, we make decisions about what speech is harmful, what constitutes political advertising, and how to prevent sophisticated cyber attacks.’ Zuckerberg told to The Washington Post.

'These are important for keeping our community safe. But if we were starting from scratch, we wouldn't ask companies to make these judgments alone,' he added.

Referencing from the statements given to Business insider by Facebook’s spokesperson, 'A few years ago some of Mark's posts were mistakenly deleted due to technical errors. The work required to restore them would have been extensive and not guaranteed to be successful so we didn't do it,'

'We agree people should be able to find information about past announcements and major company news, which is why for years we've shared and archived this information publicly — first on our blog and in recent years on our Newsroom.’



Facebook leaves passwords unencrypted



Facebook said there is no evidence its employees abused access to this data. The company said the passwords were stored on internal company servers, where no outsiders could access them. However, privacy experts suggested that users change their passwords.

The security slip left the passwords readable by the social networking giant's employees.

The issue was first reported by security researcher Brian Krebs, who published a blog post-Thursday detailing that Facebook employees built applications that captured the passwords of users and stored them as plain text, meaning a password would be readable just the same as it is entered to log in.

The blunder was uncovered during a routine security review early this year, according to Canahuati.

"To be clear, these passwords were never visible to anyone outside of Facebook and we have found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed them," vice president of engineering, security, and privacy Pedro Canahuati said.

"As part of a routine security review in January, we found that some user passwords were being stored in a readable format within our internal data storage systems," Pedro Canahuati, vice president of engineering for security and privacy at Facebook, wrote in a blog post. "This caught our attention because our login systems are designed to mask passwords using techniques that make them unreadable."

Most companies encrypt passwords to prevent them from being stolen in the event of a data breach or used for nefarious purposes by company employees.

The incident reveals yet another huge and basic oversight at a company that insists it is a responsible guardian for the personal data of its 2.3 billion users worldwide.

By storing passwords in readable plain text, Facebook violated fundamental computer-security practices. Those call for organizations and websites to save passwords in a scrambled form that makes it almost impossible to recover the original text. The blunder was uncovered during a routine security review early this year, according to Canahuati.