Facebook bot sells user data of 6L Indian Facebook users on Telegram
Facebook Inc. has become the hub of controversy and there is no doubting it. The company and the founder, Mark Zuckerberg has been allegedly accused of privacy and security breaches violating its own user privacy policies by sharing user information on its platforms.
Another such incident took place in 2019 where Facebook was sharing private user data including phone numbers attached to Facebook IDs on some platform through a bot. The multinational social media giant admitted to the security incident and later fixed the issue.
Having said that, another such security breach has recently taken place where Facebook is allegedly sharing user contact information including phone numbers of over 6 lakh Indian users to Telegram through a bot, according to a report by Motherboard.
The report explicitly mentions that the user contact information was not shared for free, it was reportedly sold by the bot in consideration of USD 20 for one phone number or Facebook ID. USD 20 amounts to INR 1,500 and these were sold in batches of 10,000 Facebook IDs and contact information, making the total selling cost to USD 5,000 each.
Facebook has a userbase of over 500 million users in India which makes it a potential market for Facebook to grow its business. The data leak and security breach of over 6 lakh Indian users out of the total 500 million user base seem like a small number but it is certainly not.
The Motherboard report further mentions that the Facebook bot violated and exploited the social media platform’s vulnerability to have access to user information of 6 lakh Indian Facebook users which are allegedly being sold on Telegram in exchange for money.
Anyhow, it is important to note that if the user is sharing his phone number, linked to his Facebook ID, this information can be used to find the person’s Facebook profile and all the information shared on the platform. Leaking of such information can be the cause of major fraudulent activities. Emails, phone numbers and other such information can be used by hackers and anyone of these 6 lakh Indian users can be digitally attacked.
According to a report by Inc42, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a case last week against Cambridge Analytica and Global Science Research concerning a 2017-2018 controversy where the company was allegedly accused of illegally harvesting personal data of Indian Facebook users which have reportedly affected over 5.62 lakh, Indian users.