More than 7m Australians reportedly caught up in 2019 Facebook data leak

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 7 April 2021

Millions of Australians were reportedly caught up in the 2019 Facebook data leak, which saw the personal information of more than 500 million users leaked online.

In 2019, the data of millions of Facebook users around the world was “scraped” from their profiles. Facebook says “malicious actors” were able to access the data by using a feature designed to help people find friends more easily.

While the incident was reported in the media at the time, co-founder of cybersecurity firm Hudson Rock, Alan Gal, recently shared details of the extent of the leak to Twitter.

According to Gal, data from 533 million accounts from 106 countries were impacted and leaked online for free. The database includes information such as people’s full names, Facebook ID, location, birthdate, and sometimes email address, relationship status and account creation date.

According to Gal, 7.3 million Australian accounts were hit by the data leak.

Facebook hasn’t confirmed the figure to AdNews, or whether it let users know they were impacted at the time.

“This is old data that was previously reported on in 2019,” a Facebook spokesperson says.

“We found and fixed this issue in August 2019.”

Facebook has also put out a blog post on the incident, saying it’s confident it resolved the specific issue that led to the data leak.

“While we can’t always prevent data sets like these from recirculating or new ones from appearing, we have a dedicated team focused on this work,” says Facebook product management director Mike Clark.

“While we addressed the issue identified in 2019, it’s always good for everyone to make sure that their settings align with what they want to be sharing publicly.”

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