Facebook ‘unintentionally’ collected email contacts from 1.5 million users

Since May 2016, Facebook has been importing the email contacts of 1.5 million users without their consent. The company said it did so “unintentionally” after asking for the password of the email account.

The social network obtained users’ email contacts after they first signed up. For some users, Facebook asked for not only the email address but also the password of their email account. The company would need this to verify user accounts. Business Insider found that as soon as users entered their email password, Facebook showed a notification that the network was importing contacts.

Facebook has now admitted to the site that this has happened to 1.5 million accounts since May 2016. The company promises to destroy the data and inform the affected users. A spokesperson told Business Insider that for May 2016, the company showed an option to verify accounts and upload contacts. An adjustment of that function would have removed the text, while the import function remained active.

The social networking company used the contacts to expand its network, suggest friends and improve its advertising system. At the beginning of April, it turned out that Facebook requested the passwords of email accounts from some users. This would be especially true for Yandex and GMX users, not Gmail users. Facebook then promised to stop the practice and reported that the passwords were not saved.

Image courtesy of message from Twitter user e-sushi