Facebook has released a response to recent reports of 530 million user accounts made publicly available in an unsecured database. Facebook states that their systems were not hacked, but user data was scraped from its platform prior to September 2019. Facebook also states that the issue was corrected at that time and should not happen again.
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Facebook will soon release a new feature – Manage Activity – that will allow users to archive or delete their user activity in bulk. Archived items can be still be made available, and deleted items can still be recovered up to 30 days later before they are permanently deleted.
Facebook also has a Photo Transfer Tool that will allow users to transfer their photos in bulk to a new website. This tool only works for Google Photos for now but other options will become available.
Google, Microsoft and Facebook all announced changes or updates to their video meeting tools in April 2020. These are alternatives to the popular Zoom video chat software.
Video meeting tool Google Meet is now available free of charge for all users. This will be a gradual rollout within the next few weeks. Users must sign in with their Google account, but Meet works entirely in a web browser and does not require downloads first.
Skype Meet Now is a different video meeting tool which does not require a sign-up or installation. A unique Meet Now link can be requested from Skype or a web browser. Meet Now appears as a Windows 10 TaskBar icon.
Facebook has also announced its new meeting tool – Facebook Messenger Rooms. Invited attendees do not need a Facebook account to attend the video meeting and downloads are not required. Rooms is not end-to-end encrypted. This is in addition to their Facebook Workplace and Facebook Work Groups services.
Facebook will prompt its users to review their privacy settings within the next few weeks as part of a rollout of new and revised privacy features:
- An updated Privacy Checkup tool;
- An Off-Facebook Activity tool with a summary of data from third-party sites used for targeted ads, with an option to delete this data;
- A new Alerts for Third-Party Logins feature that allows you to see how your Facebook login is being used by other apps and services.
Facebook released a notice in March 2019 stating several million user passwords were kept in a readable unencrypted format on their own internal servers. However, Facebook maintains that this data was never publicly available or misused and will notify individual users affected by this issue.
Facebook reported a data breach of at least 50 million user accounts on September 28th 2018. This was related to Facebook’s “View As” feature, which has been temporarily disabled while the company continues its investigation. Facebook has reset the access tokens of the almost 50 million accounts affected by the breach, as well as another 40 million accounts that had a “View As” look-up in the last year. These 90 million users will now have to log back in to Facebook.
Facebook posted a second update on October 12th regarding this data breach. They now believe 30 million user access tokens were affected instead of 50 million. The data breach did not affect Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Messenger Kids, Workplace, Pages, payments, third-party apps, Oculus, or advertising or developer accounts. Facebook users can check if their account was affected at www.facebook.com/help/securitynotice?ref=sec while logged into their Facebook account.
Some of the world’s largest technology companies are working together on the Data Transfer Project (DTP). The purpose of this project is to build an open source common framework that can allow users to easily transfer data between any two data platforms.
Most of the major technology companies are represented, including: