It seems that every day that passes, a new controversy arises around Facebook. This time, the company has to explain how or why it came to import the personal contacts of the emails of 1.5 million users when they signed up for the social media service.
This situation is not new, but it was constantly presented over the past two years, although Facebook said it had been done "involuntarily." Now, according to Business Insider, the social network is in the process of eliminating contacts from its servers.
This is what happened: in some cases, during the Facebook registration process, I shared it with some new users who verify their identity by entering their email password. However, when they do, a message appears on the screen indicating that Facebook was importing the contact list from the email account of the people, without requesting their prior approval.
The social network has not released specific numbers on how many individual contacts it has loaded, but some conjectures can be made. For example, if each person has 50 contacts per record, that will equal 75 million contacts added to their servers. This will allow Facebook to further expand its network of user connections, and improve recommendations for existing members to add as friends.
"Last month we stopped offering the email password verification as an option for people who verify their account when they sign up for Facebook for the first time," the company said in a statement addressing this issue. "When we look at the steps people were following to verify their accounts, we found that in some cases people's email contacts were also involuntarily uploaded to Facebook when they created their account."
Facebook said it estimates that this situation could have affected up to 1.5 million users, but insisted that the information was not shared with anyone and was now being deleted. “We have solved the underlying problem and are notifying the people whose contacts were imported. People can also review and manage the contacts they share with Facebook in their settings. ”
The disclosure is the latest in a series of recent errors and security controversies related to Facebook. Just a few weeks ago it was revealed that personal data belonging to more than 500 million users were exposed to third-party applications on Amazon cloud servers that were publicly visible, and in December 2018, an API error revealed the private photos of almost 7 millions of Facebook users to third-party applications.
And before, of course, there was the damaging scandal of Cambridge Analytica, in which the data of tens of millions of Facebook users were acquired for political purposes.