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Data of 50m Vietnamese Facebook Accounts Leaked Online

The leaked data includes phone numbers, Facebook IDs, genders and location by country.

A security researcher recently discovered a public database online that contains records of 419 million Facebook accounts, 50 million of which are based in Vietnam, TechCrunch reports. The database has since been pulled offline.

Each record includes a Facebook ID and the user’s phone number, and sometimes information about the users' stated gender and location. It’s unclear who scraped the data or why. A representative of Facebook later claimed that the dataset only includes 220 million records, the rest are duplicates.

"This dataset is old and appears to have information obtained before we made changes last year to remove people's ability to find others using their phone numbers," said Facebook spokesperson Jay Nancarrow.

This is far from the first time Facebook has encountered security issues concerning data. The Cambridge Analytica scandal in early 2018 revealed millions of accounts on Facebook being harvested for political advertising. Later that year, it was found that Facebook granted special access to user data for 150 companies.

In March this year, Facebook admitted it had stored passwords of 600 million users since 2012 in plain text, unsecured and easily accessible to 20,000 Facebook employees. Several days later, it was reported that half a billion Facebook user records were left exposed on the internet publicly.

In August this year, newspapers reported that Facebook has been paying independent contractors to listen to and transcribe Messenger voice chats. Within the same month, Facebook lost an appeal in a class-action lawsuit that accused the company of collecting biometric data, specifically facial recognition, without users’ informed consent. 

[Photo via Flickr user Book Catalog]

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