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Facebook Privacy Breach Exposes Contact Info for 6 Million Users

DOWN: Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg

The company said that the bug, active since last year, was not "exploited maliciously" but was a technical issue.

Facebook has revealed that a technical bug, apparently live since last year, has inadvertently shared an estimated 6 million users' email addresses and telephone numbers with others in their network.

The company said a security researcher notified the site's White Hat program (which allows users to notify Facebook of technical bugs) and pointed out an issue with some users who uploaded contact information to their address book. 

Facebook addressed the issue in a notification to users on the Security page. The bug had been live on the site since last year before being found last week, a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch

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"We recently received a report to our White Hat program regarding a bug that may have allowed some of a person’s contact information (email or phone number) to be accessed by people who either had some contact information about that person or some connection to them," the notification read. 

Facebook added: "We've concluded that approximately 6 million Facebook users had email addresses or telephone numbers shared." The company said it alerted regulators in the U.S., Canada and Europe and is "in the process of notifying affected users via email." 

The social network crossed the 1 billion user global user mark last fall. Privacy concerns have been associated with the company since its launch. 

One recent tech glitch occurred on New Years Eve, when an apparent bug in a feature called "New Year's Midnight Delivery" allowed users to view others messages by manipulating the URL.