“It seems like an innocuous enough feature. Until Wednesday, anybody on Facebook could enter a phone number or email address and find the Facebook profile associated with it. Useful if you’re searching for “John Smith” or its global equivalents.
“But now imagine that someone has a list of email addresses or phone numbers that have been gathered outside of Facebook. With a simple script, that person could simply enter phone number after phone number and create a database of Facebook profiles, including whatever public information was available there.
“And it appears that this, indeed, happened. In an announcement on the company’s plans to restrict data access by outside companies, Facebook noted:
Malicious actors have also abused these features to scrape public profile information by submitting phone numbers or email addresses they already have through search and account recovery. Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way.
over 1B 2.2B users*, what does most users actually mean? It means that the only person whose data was not scraped was Faceberg’s. You can bank on it. OK, and maybe some guy named Phil, who lives in a van down by the river and checks in from the library.
Here’s the bottom line: Faceberg is NOT going to change its business model, it doesn’t matter how many users data was stolen. Faceberg MIGHT give you more control over your data, but it is still going to sell you to advertisers.
Here’s a delicious way to end this post (emphasis mine):
“Slate’s Will Oremus asked whether the chief executive himself would have used apps like the one designed by Cambridge psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan, called “thisisyourdigitallife,” that siphoned the data of around 270,000 users and all of their friends, which Kogan then packaged and sold.
“The CEO’s answer was candid and will likely enter the pantheon of iconic Zuck quotes, which also include his original business card slogan (“I’m CEO, bitch”) and “move fast and break things.” “I certainly use a lot of apps; I’m a power user of the internet,” Zuckerberg responded.
*Updated to 2.2B Monthly users.