On Sept. 24, 2019, Facebook sent me an unsettling email.
Hi, Terrance,” it began. “It looks like someone tried to log into your account on September 24 at 2:46 AM using an unknown device. Your account is safe; we just wanted to make sure it was you who tried to log in from somewhere new.” The email was sent at 2:46 AM, but it was nearly eight hours before I saw the email.
At around 10:40 that morning, I logged on to Facebook and discovered that someone from Quebec (!!!) had accessed my account. When I entered my login information, I was told it was incorrect. The Quebec hacker had changed my password! I had to create a new one in order to access my own account. But my story is just one in a long line of stories from users whom Facebook has failed to protect.
In March 2018, Facebook came under fire after news broke that it had shared users’ data with British analytics firm Cambridge Analytica. Facebook shared the data with a professor, Dr. Aleksander Kogan, who claimed to be using it for academic purposes. Kogan sold it to Cambridge Analytica, which harvested private data from nearly 50 million users without their consent, according to the New York Times. Multiple sources, including NBC News, later reported that up to 87 million users were affected.
Then in September 2018, Facebook revealed that an attack on its computer network had exposed the personal information of nearly 50 million users. According to the New York Times, software flaws in Facebook’s systems allowed hackers to break into accounts — including that of founder Mark Zuckerberg. The hackers tried to access information about users’ names, sex, and hometown, the Times said.
On Sept. 5, 2019, Forbes reported that a Facebook data leak had exposed the phone numbers of 419 million users. The numbers, linked to Facebook users’ IDs, had been stored in a database that was unsecured by any password. Anyone who was looking for the numbers could find them. Per TechCrunch reporter Zach Whittaker: “The exposed server contained more than 419 million records over several databases on users across geographies, including 133 million records on U.S.-based Facebook users, 18 million records of users in the U.K., and another with more than 50 million records on users in Vietnam.” He also found that some records also showed name, gender, and country of location.
ENOUGH. Facebook has been playing fast and loose with our data, our privacy, our business, for long enough. This hack is just the final straw.
Facebook and I are done.