Application security, Compliance Management, Privacy, Security Strategy, Plan, Budget

Zuckerberg admits public Facebook data skimmed

Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg told reporters on a Thursday conference call that most Facebook users should assume their public data has already been scraped from their profiles.

The news comes just a few days after Facebook announced new data restrictions, user controls and the removal of the Search and Account recovery tool. Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer previously admitted the tool was capable of misused in the statement and Zuckerberg's latest claims confirming the tool had indeed been abused.

"We've seen some scraping," Zuckerberg said. "I would assume if you had that setting turned on that someone at some point has access to your public information in some way."

Koby Kilimnik, security research specialist at Imperva agreed with the CEO and said a user's friends and connections can make another user's personal data public even if the initial user's data isn't fully public on Facebook or other social media, by simply copying the information to the public domain.

“Anyone sharing information on the internet should assume that other people will eventually copy, download and distribute it at will,” Kilimnik said. “This goes for photos, phone numbers, emails or even opinions on which dressing is best on a salad.”

Kilimnik added there are mitigations against scrapers, but the end user shouldn't assume such solutions are in place when they post to any selected site to which they are registered. Furthermore, people should be able to decide on their own what they want to do with their private data.

That doesn't mean that we can't share, but we should understand the ramifications of the act in full and inform others so they would be able to decide on their own what they want to do with their private data, he added.

Facebook also secretly deleted some of Mark Zuckerberg's private messages from their recipients' inbox over fears the company could be hacked, according to TechCruch.

Three anonymous sources confirmed to that news site messages they had received from Zuckerberg have disappeared and no longer appear in their Facebook chat logs.

“After Sony Pictures' emails were hacked in 2014 we made a number of changes to protect our executives' communications, a spokesperson told the publication when questioned on the issue. “These included limiting the retention period for Mark's messages in Messenger. We did so in full compliance with our legal obligations to preserve messages.”

The deleting message function currently isn't available to ordinary Facebook users as deleted messages will still show up in the recipient's mailbox even after the sender deletes them from their own device. Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatApp both offer the ability to delete messages from both inboxes. It is unclear if this feature will make its way to ordinary users.  

Facebook Friday announced that purchasers of Political ads will need to be verified after in a move to combat future abuse such as Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election. 

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