Facebook is trying to make things right with its users following the scandal that involves Cambridge Analytica. In a recent blog post, Mike Schroepfer, the CTO of the social network, admitted that the fiasco might have exposed the data of 87 million individuals– and he described how that would not happen again. As part of the adjustments with regards to security, Facebook is disabling a feature that could have contributed to the said mess: Allowing anyone to search for users using phone numbers.
Facebook’s blog post noted that people made use of this feature to look up their friends easily, which was convenient when in a language that took the effort to type out a full name or choose between multiple accounts that have the same name. However, the social media company said that ‘malicious actors’ have exploited it to scrape information that are publicly available, usually by typing in emails or phone numbers into the search box and connecting them to the profile that appeared.
And this might have had immense implications. The post read: “Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped in this way.”
The platform has shut down the search by phone/email feature and will change how its users can recover their account to decrease the risk of scraping.