As often as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, it seems that private information is being shared with the public. Today, the latest privacy breach is brought to you by Facebook. Pedro Canahuati, Vice President of Engineering, Security and Privacy at Facebook, announced that during a routine security check in January, the team discovered that “some user passwords were being stored in a readable format” and were able to be seen by around 20,000 Facebook employees. In this case, “some user passwords” meant that the Facebook data breach affected around 600,000 users. Canahuati assured users that they have now fixed the issue causing passwords to show up in plain text and that there haven’t been any signs of abuse from Facebook employees who had access to user passwords.
How do I know if my password was made public to Facebook?
Canahuati promises that if your password was seen by Facebook employees, you will be notified. He says, “We estimate that we will notify hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of other Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram users.” If you are unfamiliar with Facebook Lite, it is a version of Facebook used by those who live in areas with lower connectivity. So, if your information was made public to Facebook employees, you should be notified by Facebook.
If you’re worried that your account is no longer secure or that someone may have accessed your password, you can change it in your user settings on both Facebook and Instagram. Facebook also suggests that you pick a strong, complex password with lots of letters, numbers, and symbols. Additionally, you can enable two-factor authentication which will add an extra layer of security to your account.
Whether your password was made public to Facebook employees or not, it is a bit unsettling that private information people shared with a company was irresponsibly used. Even though it was an accident, the issue of privacy breaches is a huge problem with major companies. Whether it was the Equifax breach back in 2017 or even the Facebook data breach in 2018, it seems that every time we turn around, someone is making our private information public. I hope that Facebook really will learn from their mistakes and take major steps to secure their user’s privacy.