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Facebook doesn’t think it should tell you if you were part of a 533 million user breach

With 533 million accounts, chances are you’re in the leak.

facebook logo on smartphone screen
Image: Unsplash

Facebook seems to be dodging its responsibilities regarding its latest (or maybe not?) leak. You see, most states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have laws about notifying users whose data has been breached.

That includes if “information was inadvertently exposed,” which if you believe Facebook’s messaging, it has been, by misusing a tool that Facebook created to help users find their friends. The EU goes further, with the GDPR requiring the breach to be reported to the “supervisory authority” no later than “72 hours after having become aware of it.”

Did Facebook do any of this reporting in 2019, when it says it first was aware of the leak? Or was it in 2018? The thing is, Facebook’s messaging is so inconsistent at this time that we don’t know if this is the 2018 leak, or the 2019 leak, or another leak altogether. Maybe it doesn’t even know, and it doesn’t have any control over the tools that it has created. That’s worrying even to contemplate, and another good reason to delete your Facebook account.

It seems that the data scraping (if that’s what happened) goes back further than 2019, as some Twitter users are saying that they deleted their accounts years before that date, but still have their data in the breach.

While we’re talking about data scraping and Facebook, it seems that their enforcement policies aren’t equally applied. Last October, Facebook made sure to blog about some legal action it had taken against two developers that created Google Chrome extensions “designed to scrape Facebook, in violation of Facebook’s Terms and Policies and state and federal law.” I can’t find any similar posts about legal action against Clearview AI’s scraping of photos. The company also hasn’t responded to Ryan Mac of BuzzFeed News‘ requests asking if the social giant will take any action.

If you’ve got a Facebook account and are wondering if you’re bundled in the recent leak, here’s how to check. You can now search with your phone number, as haveibeenpwned has updated their tool.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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