There’s a common theme running through the spring season of developer conferences and tech events: trust and privacy. With the tech industry facing a backlash from consumers and regulators, tech giants including Facebook, Google, Apple and Microsoft are looking to assure everyone that they’re listening. But each company is approaching the issue in a very different way, and with a very different track record on the topic.
Facebook stored way more Instagram passwords in a readable plaintext format than it initially thought, the company announced on Thursday. Last month, the social media firm admitted that it stored “hundreds of millions” of user account passwords in plaintext logs. That’s a serious privacy blunder, but it was a bigger problem for users of Facebook’s flagship platform. The company said that the incident only impacted “tens of thousands” of Instagram users.
Federal regulators are discussing whether and how to hold Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg personally accountable for the company's history of mismanaging users' private data, two sources familiar with the discussions told NBC News on Thursday. The sources wouldn't elaborate on what measures are specifically under consideration. The Washington Post, which first reported the development, reported that regulators were exploring increased oversight of Zuckerberg's leadership.
Over the previous year Facebook’s stock had gone up as usual, but its reputation was rapidly sinking toward junk bond status. The world had learned how Russian intelligence operatives used the platform to manipulate US voters. Genocidal monks in Myanmar and a despot in the Philippines had taken a liking to the platform. Mid-level employees at the company were getting both crankier and more empowered, and critics everywhere were arguing that Facebook’s tools fostered tribalism and outrage.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg oversaw plans to consolidate the social network’s power and control competitors by treating its users’ data as a bargaining chip, while publicly proclaiming to be protecting that data, according to about 4,000 pages of leaked company documents largely spanning 2011 to 2015 and obtained by NBC News.
Momentum is gaining in Washington for a privacy law that could sharply rein in the ability of the largest technology companies to collect and make money off people's personal data. A national law, the first of its kind in the U.S., could allow people to see or prohibit the use of their data. Companies would need permission to release such information.
Cybersecurity researchers on Wednesday said they found hundreds of millions of Facebook user records exposed publicly online. Upguard, a cybersecurity firm, in a report found two third-party Facebook app makers had inadvertently exposed data sets containing troves of Facebook users' personal information on Amazon cloud computing services.
Facebook announced on Thursday that "hundreds of millions" of users' passwords had been stored in unprotected plain text accessible by the company's employees. In a blog post titled "Keeping Passwords Secure," the social media giant said it had found no reason to believe the trove of passwords had been abused by its workers or accessed by anyone outside the company.
Facebook is losing its product chief Chris Cox, a top-ranking executive who spent more than a decade at the company, just a week after CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a major new direction for the social network. The departure, announced Thursday, follows Zuckerberg’s announcement that Facebook FB, -2.46% will shift its emphasis to private messaging over public sharing. The change reflects Facebook’s changing audience and continued problems with serving as a conduit for misinformation and vitriol.
A bipartisan pair of senators on Tuesday introduced legislation that would prevent tech companies from amassing personal information about teenagers without their consent. The bill, introduced by outspoken tech critics Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and freshman Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), would prevent internet companies from targeting ads toward children and require the companies to provide more insight into how they collect and use children's data.