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Facebook Labels Russian Users as ‘Interested in Treason’

In its 747-page response to questions raised by a US committee, Facebook said it had already ended partnerships with 38 of them with seven more due to expire in July and one more in October this year

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Facebook plans sprawling office near Microsoft headquarters. IANS

Facebook has apologised for labelling 65,000 Russians as “interested in treason,” putting them at potential probe risk by the Russian law enforcement officials and the government, the media reported.

According to a report in The Guardian on Thursday, the advertising tools algorithmically labelled 65,000 Russians as “interested in treason”.

Facebook later said the label was intended to only identify historical treason.

“Treason was included as a category, given its historical significance. Given it’s an illegal activity, we’ve removed it as an interest category,” a spokesperson was quoted as saying.

The social media giant generally tags users based on their behaviour on its platform for advertisers to select and target people interested in specific topics.

“Treason was included as a category, given its historical significance. Given it’s an illegal activity, we’ve removed it as an interest category,” a Facebook spokesperson told the Guardian.

The labelling raises new concerns over data-driven profiling.

Facebook later said the label was intended to only identify historical treason.
Facebook later said the label was intended to only identify historical treason. Pixabay

and targeting of users on the website, which has already faced criticism for the same tool algorithmically inferring information about users’ race, sexuality and political views despite data protection legislation requiring explicit consent to hold such information.

The Danish Broadcasting Corporation first raised this problem with Facebook.

The issue at hand has “raised a number of important questions about the way Facebook’s advertising systems work. Our goal is to ensure people see ads that are relevant and useful. It’s better for the people using our service, as well as for advertisers,” Facebook said in a statement.

“When we identify misuse of our ads products, we take action. Depending on the violation, we may remove the ad, suspend the ad account or even report the advertiser to law enforcement,” it added.

Also Read: Facebook Fined in U.K. Over Cambridge Analytica Leak

In a latest admission, Facebook said it entered into data-sharing partnership with 52 technology companies, including Chinese companies like Alibaba, Huawei, Lenovo and Oppo.

In its 747-page response to questions raised by a US committee, Facebook said it had already ended partnerships with 38 of them with seven more due to expire in July and one more in October this year.

The UK’s data protection watchdog also plans to slap a fine of 500,000 pounds ($662,501) on Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica data leak scandal. This is the highest permitted fine under Britain’s data protection law. (IANS)

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Facebook Reveals Millions of Instagram Passwords Stored on Servers

Facebook had found that some user passwords were being stored in a readable format within our internal data storage systems.

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The company on Thursday revealed that millions of passwords belonging to the users of its photo-sharing service Instagram were also exposed. Pixabay

A day after admitting it “unintentionally” uploaded emails of nearly 1.5 million of new users, Facebook has now revealed that millions of Instagram passwords were stored on its servers in a readable format.

Last month, Facebook said that it fixed a security issue wherein millions of its users’ passwords were stored in plain text and “readable” format for years and were searchable by thousands of its employees.

The company on Thursday revealed that millions of passwords belonging to the users of its photo-sharing service Instagram were also exposed.

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The revelation came to light after a security researcher noticed that “Facebook was asking some users to enter their email passwords when they signed up for new accounts to verify their identities”. VOA

“We discovered additional logs of Instagram passwords being stored in a readable format. We now estimate that this issue impacted millions of Instagram users,” said the social networking giant in an update.

“We will be notifying these users as we did the others. Our investigation has determined that these stored passwords were not internally abused or improperly accessed.”

Facebook had found that some user passwords were being stored in a readable format within our internal data storage systems.

“This caught our attention because our login systems are designed to mask passwords using techniques that make them unreadable. We have fixed these issues and as a precaution will be notifying everyone whose passwords we found stored this way,” wrote Pedro Canahuati, Vice President, Engineering, Security and Privacy at Facebook.

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“We discovered additional logs of Instagram passwords being stored in a readable format. We now estimate that this issue impacted millions of Instagram users,” said the social networking giant in an update. Pixabay

A Facebook spokesperson admitted late Wednesday that emails of 1.5 million people were harvested since May 2016 to help build Facebook’s web of social connections and recommend other users to add as friends.

The revelation came to light after a security researcher noticed that “Facebook was asking some users to enter their email passwords when they signed up for new accounts to verify their identities”.

Also Read: The Errant Son: Mir Murtaza And Al-Zulfiqar
The social network said the contacts weren’t shared with anyone and were being deleted.

In March, a report by Krebs On Security claimed that around 200-600 million Facebook users may have had their account passwords stored in plain text and searchable by over 20,000 Facebook employees. (IANS)