Facebook admitted to yet another serious privacy flaw this week, saying that it “unintentionally” collected the email contacts of up to 1.5 million users without their consent.
According to Facebook, the problem began three years ago when it changed the verification process when users join the site. Before that, users were asked if they wanted to upload their email contact lists when they joined Facebook in order to connect with people they already knew. However, Facebook removed language in 2016 that explained to new users that their contact lists could be uploaded to the company’s servers.
“When we looked into the steps people were going through to verify their accounts, we found that in some cases people’s email contacts were also unintentionally uploaded to Facebook when they created their account,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNN.
The company says it did not know the problem existed until this month, though it has since fixed the underlying issue and will now notify people whose contacts were imported. Facebook also promised to delete all the contact info it obtained without consent.
This is a fairly minor privacy scandal in relation to Facebook’s other controversies. However, all these little issues add up over the long run, and the result is users losing trust in the company.
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