Mark Zuckerberg: Most Facebook Users Should Assume Their Data Has Been Compromised

When the news of Facebook’s data breach became known, it sent many into a panic. After all, many of us count ourselves as one of Facebook’s two-billion users. While CEO Mark Zuckerberg was mute on the subject for a few weeks, the other day he finally spoke to news outlets and admitted that most users should assume their data has been compromised.

Two Separate Issues

There has actually been two separate incidents of data being compromised or having been leaked. The most well-known is from a political consulting firm by the name Cambridge Analytica. They had contact with users through a quiz on the social media site, then took the data and used it to try to influence them to vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

After the consulting firm gathered the data, it then suffered a data breach, meaning not only were Facebook users targeted with political ads for one candidate, their data was then leaked, placing them at risk.

Additionally, there’s a vulnerability issue with Facebook’s search function. Users can search for other users using their email addresses or phone numbers. Users opt into this, meaning those affected are only the users who opted in. However, those who did opt in face a problem.

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CTO Mike Schroepfer discussed in a blog post why this is a problem. “However, malicious actors have also abused these features to scrape public profile information by submitting phone numbers or email addresses they already have through search and account recovery. 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.

Zuckerberg commented about this as well. “I would assume if you had that setting turned on that someone at some point has access to your public information in some way.

Fixing the Problem

As Zuckerberg commented, you should probably assume that you have been affected in some way.

If you’d like to know what information Facebook is holding about you, sign in to Facebook, then go to “Settings -> Ads -> Your information -> Review and Manage Your Categories.”

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You can see exactly what information Facebook has on you. You can click on any of these categories to remove the information.

Facebook appears to be doing their part as well. On Monday users will see a notification on their feeds telling them how to have their information given to fewer places. And they will also begin notifying the 87 million people whose information may have gone to Cambridge Analytica and who may not have consented.

Still More to Do

There is, of course, still more to do to fix this. While everyone was being encouraged to delete Facebook recently, and that’s still an option, if you just hate to give up Facebook, know that the company is working on the problem and that there are further things you can do to protect yourself more as well.

Sure, you can still delete Facebook, but it won’t solve the fact that you may be one of those 87 million people assumed to have already had their data leaked. But it’s a good thing that Facebook is already planning on what to do to fix the issue.

Are you afraid you are one of the users who was affected? Let us know in the comment section below.

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

8 comments

  1. “They had contact with users through a quiz on the social media site, then took the data and used it to try to influence them to vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
    The thing that sticks in many people’s craw IS NOT that voters were influenced but that they were influenced to vote for TRUMP. When in 2012 the Obama campaign used the Cambridge Analytics and the same tactics to influence voters to vote for Obama, it was hailed as a brilliant strategy. Now the shoe is on the other foot and the Liberals are whining.

    “You can see exactly what information Facebook has on you.”
    No, I can’t. I have no Facebook account but they have a dossier on me. It appears that some malicious actors (namely FB) have abused the Internet to scrape mt information from any and all databases they were able to access.

    “Facebook appears to be doing their part as well.”
    They sure are! By collecting their users phone call data. See the MakeTechEasier article “How to Stop Facebook from Quietly Collecting Your Phone Call Data” Miguel Leiva-Gomez.

    Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook speak with forked tongue.

    1. Believe what you want here, but there’s a lot of “whining” as you call it on both sides of the aisle. And the reason why everyone is “whining” about it now isn’t because it’s never happened before or because it’s Trump. That it has happened before was well-documented, and no, no one hailed it as a brilliant strategy. I won’t begin to tell you why it bothered everyone, as I don’t speak for everyone. I just report the news, whether or not you agree with it.

      1. Dear Laura,

        No offense but you sure seem rather ignorant for someone who reports the news. You need to get better informed if you want to do a good job of reporting the news. To that end let me help you by showing you an error in your reporting.

        You say that “no one hailed it [Obama’s Internet strategy] as a brilliant strategy”. But the New York Times states “One of the many ways that the election of Barack Obama as president has echoed that of John F. Kennedy is his use of a new medium that will forever change politics. For Mr. Kennedy, it was television. For Mr. Obama, it is the Internet.”

        And they quote Arianna Huffington as saying, ““Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not be president. Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not have been the nominee”.

        So it is clear that some people thought Obama’s Internet strategy was brilliant enough to get him nominated and elected.

        You can read the New York Times report here:

        How Obama’s Internet Campaign Changed Politics
        BY CLAIRE CAIN MILLER NOVEMBER 7, 2008
        https://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/07/how-obamas-internet-campaign-changed-politics/

        I am curious. What political party do you affiliate with?

        Have a great day! :-)

        1. Indicating that using ads to influence voters is the same as using “the Internet” Is like saying no one likes baked good because they don’t like paczkis.

          I would never talk poltics on a tech site, nor would I talk politics on a site where I’m a writer and an editor.

          Have a fantastic evening!

      2. Say what you will but until the Congressional investigation of Donald Trump was instigated, no politician was ever investigated for having a third party “influence” the voters. Not even the Chicago politicians whose elections were not only “influenced” but run by the Mob. Not even Richard Daily Sr who was known to orchestrate his election and re-elections.

  2. Is Cambridge Analytics selling your personal info to illegal immigrants?
    Zucker must be charged with ‘aiding & abetting’ criminal activities…PERIOD!
    I can see how money affects their thinking, he’s believeing ‘I’m stinking rich, so I am above the law’.
    But Greed is one of the 7 Deadly Sins. He won’t be able to pay his way into the Heavens, Gods Love of a humble man or woman, who gives from their heart and soul. You only need the basic necessities of life, food, shelter, and a spirit….of Hope.
    God did not create, ‘Adam & Steve’…..(hint, hint).

  3. “While CEO Mark Zuckerberg was mute on the subject for a few weeks, the other day he finally spoke to news outlets and admitted that most users should assume their data has been compromised”

    While it’s not been a very-well-hidden secret, it’s nice that he’s finally admitted it. Google’s CEO stated several years ago that people using Google’s services shouldn’t expect any degree of privacy whatsoever. Many of us knew at the time that the same applied to Facebook.

    Google’s CEO also stated that anyone expecting privacy should stay off the Internet…obliquely referring to the fact that as long as you’re logged into your Google account, Google tracks everything you do on the Internet. Facebook does mostly the same, except you don’t have to be logged into your Facebook account; if there is a set of Facebook “like” icons or a Facebook login button on a web site, Facebook is tracking everything you do on that site.

    “if you just hate to give up Facebook, know that the company is working on the problem and that there are further things you can do to protect yourself more as well”

    But you can bet your bottom dollar that they’re not going to give you anything with which to protect yourself from **Facebook** itself, which is the real problem. As long as people continue to use Facebook, Facebook will continue to harvest their data, and all the data that Facebook harvests will be “out there” for anyone to buy and use.

  4. An article in yesterday’s (4/10/2018) USA Today revealed that quite a few Congresscritters of various political persuasions have used Facebook data to help in their re-elections. Maybe Special Counsel Mueller should look into those politicians trying to influence the voters.

    In spite of his protestations, it seems that Mark Zuckerberg sold FB user data to anybody and everybody that was willing to pay.

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