Facebook: 50 Million User Accounts Affected In Security Breach

Anders Hagstrom | Justice Reporter

Nearly 50 million Facebook users had their information compromised in an attack on the social media site’s computer network, Facebook announced Friday.

Facebook uncovered the attack earlier this week, finding that hackers had taken advantage of a piece of code allowing them to take over users’ accounts, The New York Times reported Friday. Facebook said it has fixed the issue and forced more than 90 million users to sign out in an attempt to return the accounts to their creators.

Facebook has notified law enforcement but has yet to identify the attackers and is in the opening stages of an investigation. The breach comes after several years of scrutiny into Facebook’s handling of user data, with many politicians blaming Facebook for facilitating the spread of “fake news” and sharing user data with third parties such as Cambridge Analytica. (RELATED: Former Facebook Content Moderator Sues Company, Claims Job Gave Her PTSD)

The European Union warned Facebook it would face sanctions if it didn’t change its terms of conditions to be more transparent about data usage by the end of 2018. The EU has been in talks with Facebook for nearly two years about adjusting its TACs. The social media giant launched an update in May that it claims brought it into compliance with “the vast majority” of changes the EU called for, but regulators weren’t satisfied.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey both appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early September. Sandberg admitted that Facebook was “too slow” to take action against Russian misinformation on its site ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

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