Facebook shadow profiles: you probably have one and don’t even know it

Last week, Facebook confirmed that it had leaked the private information of six million of its users. You may have thought to yourself, “ha! That’s not me! I don’t give any of my personal information to Facebook!”

Unfortunately, thanks to your friends, it may turn out that your phone number and email address could have ended up in that leak, after all.

Your personal information may be included in something called a ‘Facebook Shadow Profile,’ a term that came up a lot over the last week while people were reporting how a bug had exposed the personal information of millions of users. The security research company who identified the bug, Packet Storm Security, said that Facebook has been compiling information on many of its users, and even on people who don’t have Facebook accounts, ZDNET reports.

That’s where shadow profiles come in: Facebook’s shadow profiles include information culled from Facebook users’ phones when they use the ‘Find Friends’ feature. When a user first installs Facebook on their smartphone, they get a prompt asking if they would like Facebook to scan the phone using the ‘Find Friends’ tool, which will look through all the phone numbers and emails in their phone, and match them to the profiles of existing Facebook users. It’s a handy way to find people who you know on Facebook, but it’s also a way for Facebook to gain access to personally identifying information.

Facebook then takes the information it collects and puts it into a shadow profile. If you opt not to provide the information yourself on the social network, that’s okay: your information is just kept in Facebook’s data centre. This information is used to help other friends make contact matches, and also to help power the ‘People You May Know’ feature on Facebook, which also uses information on how you know people you’re Friends with on your Facebook page.

[ More Right Click: Find out how much your email is worth to a hacker ]

The bug at the heart of this controversy has been accidentally combining users shadow profiles with their real profiles, so when someone used Facebook’s ‘Download Your Information’ tool, it would include information that some Facebook users had not provided to the social network.

According to Mashable, collecting this information is most likely a legal practice in the United States, as phone number collection of contacts is outlined in the Terms and Conditions a user signs when he signs up for the service. In places like Europe, where the privacy laws are stricter, Facebook’s shadow profiles have been found to violate the Data Protection Act of Ireland, where Facebook’s European headquarters are, seven different cases.

As for who’s information is kept in shadow profiles, that remains somewhat unclear. Facebook has argued in the past that they do not keep the personal information of non-members, however users were still reporting that information of non-users were being included two days after the news of the leak was made public.

And the story’s not over yet: Huffington Post reported on Thursday that users were only told about some of the data that had been disclosed through the leak. When Facebook sent out notifications to users about the information breach, informing users of the bug, they may have listed one or three email addresses, when in actuality it may have been four or seven in some cases.

from yahoo news

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  • behind da barz

    --------the chemicals R identical, we're one & the same / with 7 letters in all 3 of my government names / walked on water, nah, neither did jesus / its a parable to make followers & readers believers--------i gave her my honorable discharge & she took it like a soldier--------what's a black beetle anyway, a fuckin roach-------she told the director she tryna get in a school-he said "take them glasses off and get in the pool"---------what ya'll call swag to me is faggotry-------my outfit so disrespectful / u go 'head n sneeze let my presence bless u--------its quite amazing that u rhyme like u do / & how u shine like u grew up in a shrine in peru-------its hard fuckin with niggaz u hope u can trust / ure a fool if ure main bitch is easy to fuck--------beyond the walls of intelligence life is divine / i think of crime when im in a new york state of mind - ------THE WAY SOME ACT IN RAP IS KINDA WACK / IT LACKS CREATIVITY & INTELLIGENCE / BUT THEY DON'T CARE BECAUSE THEIR COMPANY IS SELLING IT / ITS MY PHILOSOPHY ON THE INDUSTRY--------From days I wasn't "Abel/able", there was always "Cain/caine-------know how to leave anything in 30 seconds / when you feel the heat coming & flee with the murder weapon--------ayo my silent moments' loud as the crack of thunder / my hunger like the crocodile that attacked the hunter-------i'm something between platinum & flop, underground & mainstream / conscious, backpack, scratch dat; 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the sweeter the juice / i say the darker the flesh; then the deeper the roots---------i took your breath away then we'd perform cpr---------there's no real way it can be explained / i guess its just the way i smile when i hear your name--------CASH RULES EVERYTHING AROUND ME / C.R.E.A.M. GET THE MONEY, DOLLAR DOLLAR BILL Y'AAAAALL------------see I’m a poet to some, a regular modern day shakespeare / jesus christ the king of these latter day saints here / To shatter the picture in which of that as they paint me as / a monger of hate and satan a scatter-brained atheist--------i remember marvin gaye used to sing to me / he had me feeling like black was the thing to be------------this be that put-you-out-your-misery song / that makes you ask your man 'is this the joint he's dissin me on?'---------foul all your life now ure 90 / on ure death bed u regret being grimey---------INDUSTRY RULE #4080, RECORD COMPANY PEOPLE ARE SHAAADYYYY / so kids watch your back cause i think they smoke crack---------society's a weak excuse for a man-----------planet earth my place of birth / born to be the sole controller of the universe---------the mic had my prints, on on it was a body---------a squealer tells, but the dealer still sells---------some young male put in jail / lawyer so good his bail was on sale----------i'm just takin a piss......unless you're gonna do it----------fuck street clothes, we thug it out in tuxedos / stomp niggaz with hard bottoms in casinos--------people higher up have the lowest self-esteem / & the prettiest people do the ugliest things-----------IF YOU ADMIRE SOMEONE YOU SHOULD GO 'HEAD & TELL 'EM / PEOPLE NEVER GET THE ROSES WHILE THEY CAN STILL SMELL 'EM-----------goddamn, what a nigga gotta do to make a million / without the fbi catching feelings--------i got a story to tell / in these streets we got drugs & guns for sale---------we keep the nine tucked chop dimes up rap about it / wild out fuck niggaz up laugh about it---------- read between tha lines of ya eyes and ya brows / ya handshake aint matchin ya smile---------what the fuck i rap for? to push a fuckin rav-4?-------fuck all the glamour & glitz, i plan to get rich / i'm from new york & never was a fan of the knicks----------the white boy blossomed after dre endorsed him / his flow on renegade-fuckin awesome...applaud him-------before i start you know i gotta / pay homage & respects to afrika bambaata---------DRUGS IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS / MONEY IS THE KEY TO SEX------i pimped my crib so i must exhibit------- I - WILL - NOT - LOSE !
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