NY AG Launches Facebook Investigation

NY AG Launches Facebook Investigation

Photo Courtesy of AG James’s Office

“It is time Facebook is held accountable for how it handles consumers’ personal information,” Attorney General James said.

By Forum Staff
Authorities are looking into Facebook’s recent unauthorized collection of 1.5 million Facebook users’ email contact databases, NY Attorney General Tish James announced on Thursday.
While Facebook claims that 1.5 million contact databases were directly harvested by its email password verification process for new users, the total number of people whose information was improperly obtained may be hundreds of millions, James said.
According to the AG’s Office, email verification is a standard practice for online services such as Facebook. Typically, when a consumer signs up to a new service, they are asked to provide an email address, where they then receive an email with a link to verify that the email account belongs to them. Facebook’s procedure requested certain users to hand over their password to their personal email account. Additionally, reports indicate that Facebook proceeded to access those user’s contacts and upload all of those contacts to Facebook to be used for targeted advertising. While Facebook has admitted that 1.5 million people’s contact books were directly harvested, the total number of people whose contact information was improperly obtained by Facebook may be significantly higher, as people can have hundreds of contacts stored on their contact databases.
“It is time Facebook is held accountable for how it handles consumers’ personal information,” James added. “Facebook has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of respect for consumers’ information while at the same time profiting from mining that data. Facebook’s announcement that it harvested 1.5 million users’ email address books, potentially gaining access to contact information for hundreds of millions of individual consumers without their knowledge, is the latest demonstration that Facebook does not take seriously its role in protecting our personal information.”


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