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Dublin: 12°C Monday 8 August 2022

Details of 100m Facebook users collected and available for download

Is there anything to be worried about?

A SECURITY CONSULTANT has collected the details of over 100m Facebook users and made them available for download in one file.

Ron Bowles used a code to scan and collect information publicly available or not hidden on Facebook. The list which is available for download on sites like Pirate Bay contains the URL of every searchable Facebook profile, the person’s name and unique ID.

Bowles, a security researcher, said he published the file, which is being shared by thousands of users, to highlight security issues with Facebook.

One user known as “lusifer69″ said: “This is awesome and a little terrifying.” While another said: “News of this torrent has hit the press and I’ve got to say, who cares. All the info here is already in the public domain, is not sensitive and as a developer I already have access to what could be deemed personal and private data through the Facebook API.”

Bowles explains the security breach on his blog: “I have the name and URL of a user, I can view, by default, their picture, friends, information about them, and some other details. If the user has set their privacy higher, at the very least I can view their name and picture. So, if any searchable user has friends that are non-searchable, those friends just opted into being searched, like it or not! Oops :)”

But for now, Bowles’ concentration has been on listing the most popular first names of users on Facebook – Michael, John, David, Chris.

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Facebook have responded by issuing a statement: “People who use Facebook own their information and have the right to share only what they want, with whom they want, and when they want.  Our responsibility is to respect their wishes.  In this case, information that people have agreed to make public was collected by a single researcher.  This information already exists in Google, Bing, other search engines, as well as on Facebook.  No private data is available or has been compromised”

About the author:

Daire Hickey

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