Facebook bug exposes contact information from millions of users

There is no evidence, the company says, that the bug has been exploited maliciously

Privacy on Facebook

Privacy on Facebook

A bug on Facebook leaked email addresses and phone numbers provided by some 6 million people on the site to certain other users, the company revealed Friday.

What sparked the problem is a bit complicated. The bug caused some of the information that the social network stores to make friend recommendations to be inadvertently stored in association with people's contact information as part of their Facebook account, the company said Friday on its website.

As a result, if a person were to download an archive of their account through Facebook's Download Your Information (DYI) tool, additional email addresses or telephone numbers for the person's contacts, or other people with whom the user is connected, might have been displayed, Facebook said.

"We've concluded that approximately six million Facebook users had email addresses or telephone numbers shared," the company said.

"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," Facebook explained.

Also, in almost all cases, an email address or telephone number was exposed to only one person, Facebook said. No other types of personal or financial information were included, and only people on Facebook -- not developers or advertisers -- have access to the DYI tool, the company said.

Facebook said the company has no evidence that the bug has been exploited maliciously, and "we have not received complaints from users or seen anomalous behavior on the tool or site to suggest wrongdoing," the company said.

The bug had been live for a year before it was discovered by Facebook's security team last week. Upon confirmation of the bug, the DYI tool was immediately disabled to fix the problem, and it was turned back on the next day after being fixed.

"We'll work doubly hard to make sure nothing like this happens again," the company said.

Facebook is contacting affected users via email.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securitysocial mediaprivacyinternetFacebooksocial networkingInternet-based applications and services

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?