- The Washington Times
Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Facebook said it is working to get the personal data of more than 530 million Facebook users taken down from the web. 

The user data became more widely available online last weekend, but Facebook has maintained that it fixed the problem in 2019 that scrapers used to swipe personal information. 

Scraping involves collecting information from websites, often through the use of automated software tools. Facebook’s rules prevent data scraping.

“We’re focused on protecting people’s data by working to get this data set taken down and will continue to aggressively go after malicious actors who misuse our tools whenever possible,” wrote Mike Clark, Facebook product management director, on the company’s blog on Tuesday. “While we can’t always prevent data sets like these from recirculating or new ones from appearing, we have a dedicated team focused on this work.”

Alon Gal, chief technology officer at cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock, alerted others to the data’s availability online this weekend and said the data included phone numbers, Facebook identification, locations, and some email addresses among other things. 

Mr. Clark wrote that the scraped info did not include passwords, health information, or financial information. 

Facebook previously described those scraping its users’ data as attackers but is now cautioning against labeling those who collected its users’ data as hackers and Mr. Clark alternatively referred to them as “malicious actors” and “fraudsters.”

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