Facebook shuts down searching people by phone number and email

By Talha Saqib on
April 5, 2018
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Facebook has been going through a quite tough time due to the whole Cambridge Analytica case. Since then, the social media giant has been trying to make amends by updating the platform. It recently disabled sharing data with the third party applications, changed the ad targeting by email policy and Mark himself promised to deploy safeguards to protect the user data.

Now, it seems Facebook has decided to shut down the searching of other users by phone numbers and emails. Not only because of the heat of the data breach scandal but in actual, there has been a data scraping activity on Facebook lately.

As per the report, some ‘malicious actors’ got access to the people’s email addresses and phone numbers from the ‘Dark Web’ and then through the automated programs, they fed that data to Facebook’s search bar, which then showed them the user profiles linked to these numbers and addresses.

This way, by getting to know the public profiles the hackers and as such, can gain access to all the information that a user is allowing to share on its profile, leading to some potential threats including identity theft and plenty of others.

Facebook writes in a blog post, “Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way. So we have now disabled this feature.”

Moreover, Mark Zuckerberg stated on Wednesday, “We built this feature, and it’s very useful. There were a lot of people using it up until we shut it down today.”

As the hackers also abused Facebook’s account recovery function by pretending to be valid users who had forgotten their account details. So, to further reduce the risk of information scraping, the company is also changing the way users recover their accounts.

Even though Facebook allows the users to alter their privacy and recovery settings by switching off the features in question for other people wanting to search them but according to the research, tons of people just rely on the default settings and ultimately get their information exposed to unwanted people.

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