Over 540 million Facebook user records leaked by third parties

Jeannie Matthews
April 5, 2019

"For app developers on Facebook, part of the platform's appeal is access to some slice of the data generated by and about Facebook users", Vickery noted.

Separately, an app called At the Pool exposed databases that appeared to include data about user IDs, friends, photos and location check ins, as well as unprotected Facebook passwords for 22,000 users.

According to a post made by UpGuard on Wednesday, the first incident involved Mexico-based media company Cultura Colectiva, involving 540 million Facebook record detailing comments, likes, reactions, account names, Facebook IDs, and more.

UpGuard cyber risk researchers say two third-party-developed Facebook app datasets were compromised of late.

The representative further affirmed that Facebook doesn't allow its user data to be stored on a public database, so this is a clear violation of its policies.

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Though the firm speculates the passwords are not of Facebook, but "At the pool" account of users, people who tend to use the same passwords across their multiple social media accounts may have been exposed. Last year, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress after it was revealed that tens of millions of users' data was shared with Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that worked on behalf of President Donald Trump during the presidential campaign. It wasn't until the folks at Bloomberg reached out to Facebook earlier today that the problem was taken care of, with that library now secured.

The app known as "At the Pool" stopped operating in 2014, yet their the database was still publicly available.

The data exposure is not the result of a breach of Facebook's systems. But as these exposures show, the data genie can not be put back in the bottle. "We use that information to improve the users' experience on the internet, and also to generate content that will appeal to, engage, and inspire our audiences", the statement adds. "The surface area for protecting the data of Facebook users is thus vast and heterogenous, and the responsibility for securing it lies with millions of app developers who have built on its platform".

The At the Pool database, in turn, was removed during UpGuard's investigation to confirm its owner and, at the moment, the user data which it got leaked is no longer available for anyone to access. UpGuard notified Cultura Colectiva several times, but it failed to even acknowledge messages from UpGuard itself and Amazon.

"The data exposed in each of these sets would not exist without Facebook, yet these data sets are no longer under Facebook's control", the UpGuard researchers wrote in its blogpost.

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