Name and email addresses of Facebook users are available online at prices as low as $5 per million.
The dodgy trade was uncovered by Bogomil Shopov, an internet marketeer and blogger in the Czech Republic. Shopov said he approached the social network about the problem. He said Facebook asked him to forward and then delete the data, which came in the form on a compressed spreadsheet. Facebook representatives also wanted to know where he’d bought the data and what payment systems were used, he said, adding that he had been happy to answer.
However, the Czech blogger said he objected to requests he says were made by the Facebook representatives to keep his conversations with with them about the matter a secret. He said Facebook told him it was running an internal legal investigation but dragged its feet when it came to promising to advise users about how to avoid their data ending up in the hands of unscrupulous data brokers. “I asked if it was possible to tell what the problem was, after they finished the investigation, so that the users could protect themselves, but they they emphasised that it would be an internal investigation and they would not share any information with third parties,” Shopov wrote in an updated blog post.
Shopov suspects the Facebook data, which contained Facebook profile URLs as well as email addresses and names on users of the social network, came from a third-party developer. Shopov said ads advertising the sale of the data were pulled soon after he tipped Facebook off about the issue. The Czech blogger was able to verify that at least some of the email addresses contained in the list were accurate. (Read More)