Facebook security bug exposes 6 million users' contact info

Facebook users, keep an eye on your email: the social network plans to send out security alerts to those whose information was exposed.

Facebook accidentally exposed 6 million users' contact information. Watch out for an email alert from the network to find out if you were affected by an apparent security bug.

The bug allowed the emails and phone numbers of some 6 million users to be accessed by contacts or friends of friends as part of the site's friend recommendation algorithm, the social network's security team said Friday.

If you upload your contacts or address book to Facebook in order to find friends, Facebook uses that information to determine if your friends are already on the network or if you should invite them to join. That contact information may have been included in account archive information that users can download. In other words, people who have some connection to you may have been able to view your contact information when they downloaded their archive. Facebook said it disabled the Download Your Information tool, fixed it, and turned it back on within a day.

Facebook's security team said each affected user's information was downloaded just once or twice, which is a small consolation. The company also noted that no financial information was included and only Facebook users have access to the download tool (so information was probably not sold to advertisers).

"Although the practical impact of this bug is likely to be minimal since any email address or phone number that was shared was shared with people who already had some of that contact information anyway, or who had some connection to one another, it's still something we're upset and embarrassed by, and we'll work doubly hard to make sure nothing like this happens again," Facebook said in its Friday announcement.

This isn't the first time Facebook users' personal information has been exposed. Facebook in 2011 introduced a White Hat bug bounty program, where security experts can file reports about bugs and collect rewards. This most recent bug was discovered by one such researcher.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securityFacebook

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

Caitlin McGarry

TechHive (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?