A database containing the phone numbers of more than half a billion Facebook users is being freely traded online, and Facebook is trying to pin the blame on everyone but themselves. From a report: A blog post titled “The Facts on News Reports About Facebook Data,” published Tuesday evening, is designed to silence the growing criticism the company is facing for failing to protect the phone numbers and other personal information of 533 million users after a database containing that information was shared for free in low level hacking forums over the weekend, as first reported by Business Insider. Facebook initially dismissed the reports as irrelevant, claiming the data was leaked years ago and so the fact it had all been collected into one uber database containing one in every 15 people on the planet — and was now being given away for free — didn’t really matter.
So instead of apologizing for failing to keep users’ data secure, Facebook’s product management director Mike Clark began his blog post by making a semantic point about how the data was leaked. “It is important to understand that malicious actors obtained this data not through hacking our systems but by scraping it from our platform prior to September 2019,” Clark wrote. This is the identical excuse given in 2018, when it was revealed that Facebook had given Cambridge Analytica the data of 87 million users without their permission, for use in political ads. Clark goes on to explain that the people who collected this data — sorry, “scraped” this data — did so by using a feature designed to help new users find their friends on the platform.