Facebook says it “unintentionally” harvested 1.5 million users’ email contacts and saved them on company servers

By Digit NewsDesk | Updated Apr 22 2019
Facebook says it “unintentionally” harvested 1.5 million users’ email contacts and saved them on company servers
HIGHLIGHTS

Since 2016, Facebook collected and stored email contacts on 1.5 million new users who signed up on the website and provided their email passwords

The social network says that the practice was “unintentional”

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Why Facebook, Why? Almost every week there is news of Facebook toying with its users’ privacy and outright failing their own promises. The company has now said that it “unintentionally” stored email contacts of 1.5 million new users who signed up on the social network since 2016. A few days back, it was reported that Facebook was asking some users for passwords to their email accounts in order to verify their identities. This was followed by a report from Business Insider revealing that after users submitted their email credentials to Facebook, the company imported and stored the users’ email contact lists on their servers, without proper consent.

Following the revelation, Facebook has admitted that it indeed stored email contacts of 1.5 million users on Facebook’s servers. The company says the contacts were used to help people find connections on Facebook and recommend friends to them. Facebook says that before 2016, the company asked users to verify their accounts by providing email credentials. At the time, Facebook used to display a notification to users that their email contacts will be collected. However, the company claims that the feature was changed to delete the notification, but email contacts were still being saved. Below is Facebook’s complete statement as given to Business Insider.

"Last month we stopped offering email password verification as an option for people verifying their account when signing up for Facebook for the first time. When we looked into the steps people were going through to verify their accounts we found that in some cases people's email contacts were also unintentionally uploaded to Facebook when they created their account. We estimate that up to 1.5 million people's email contacts may have been uploaded. These contacts were not shared with anyone and we're deleting them. We've fixed the underlying issue and are notifying people whose contacts were imported. People can also review and manage the contacts they share with Facebook in their settings."

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