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Social Networking Giant Facebook Stored Users’ Passwords in ‘Readable’ Form

Facebook Lite is a version of Facebook, predominantly used by people in regions with lower connectivity

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A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Facebook on Thursday said it has fixed a security issue wherein millions of its users’ passwords were stored in plain text and “readable” format for years and according to reports, were searchable by thousands of its employees.

The report by KrebsOnSecurity claimed on Thursday around 200-600 million Facebook users may have had their account passwords stored in plain text and searchable by over 20,000 Facebook employees.

In a blog post later, Facebook said as part of a routine security review in January, it 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, VP Engineering, Security and Privacy at Facebook.

The company, however, said these passwords were never visible to anyone outside of Facebook.

Facebook, data, photos, vietnam
A smartphone user displays a Facebook newsfeed .VOA

“We have found no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed them. We estimate that we will notify this to hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users.

Facebook Lite is a version of Facebook, predominantly used by people in regions with lower connectivity.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we are telling people so that they can change passwords if they choose,” Facebook tweeted.

Also Read- EU Fines Google $1.7 bn for Unfair Online Ad Rules

Earlier this month, Facebook came under scrutiny for using phone numbers provided for security reasons — like two-factor authentication (2FA) — for things like advertising and making users searchable by their phone numbers across its different platforms.

“Consider enabling a security key or two-factor authentication to protect your Facebook account using codes from a third party authentication app. When you log in with your password, we will ask for a security code or to tap your security key to verify that it is you,” Facebook advised. (IANS)

Next Story

Fake Ads on Facebook Spreading Rumours About anti-HIV Drugs

"Facebook and Instagram immediately remove the advertisements outlined above that are harming public health," it added

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Social Media, Facebook, Authenticity, Posts
The social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple's App Store, July 30, 2019. VOA

Fake ads on Facebook are spreading rumours about the ill-effect of anti-HIV drugs, targeting LGBTQ Facebook and Instagram users and are causing significant harm to public health, a non-profit organization GLAAD has written in a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“We are urgently reaching out to Facebook and Instagram regarding factually inaccurate advertisements which suggest negative health effects of Truvada PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis).

“We request that Facebook and Instagram remove the advertisements and also publicly address the misinformation that the platforms allowed to spread,” the non-profit organization said in the letter.

Using Facebook’s and Instagram’s targeted advertising programs, various law firms are attempting to recruit gay and bisexual men who use Truvada PrEP as an HIV preventative to join a lawsuit, claiming that the drug has caused harmful side effects in this patient population, specifically bone density and kidney issues.

“This is despite numerous studies underscoring the safety of TDF in HIV-negative PrEP users,” said GLAAD.

Leading public health officials, medical professionals, and dedicated PrEP navigators and outreach coordinators have shared that these advertisements on Facebook and Instagram are being directly cited by at-risk community members expressing heightened fears about taking PrEP.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that when taken daily, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV from sex or injection drug use.

“Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99 per cent when taken daily.”

HIV test price in Delhi, HIV in Delhi, STD test in Delhi
HIV is a virus that impairs the body’s immune system badly and eventually takes the patient closer. Pixabay

By allowing these advertisements to persist on their platforms, said the letter, Facebook and Instagram are convincing at-risk individuals to avoid PrEP, invariably leading to avoidable HIV infections.

“You are harming public health.”

Facebook was yet to comment on the letter.

Facebook’s Advertising Policy regarding misinformation in ads states that “Facebook prohibits ads that include claims debunked by third-party fact checkers or, in certain circumstances, claims debunked by organizations with particular expertise.”

Also Read: Zomato in Advanced Talks with Uber to Buy Uber Eats

We are the organizations with “particular expertise,” said GLAAD.

They demanded immediate action to ameliorate the harm which has already been caused to those who may be seeking preventative treatment against HIV.

“Facebook and Instagram immediately remove the advertisements outlined above that are harming public health,” it added. (IANS)