NY attorney general to probe Facebook over unauthorized collection of email database

New York: The New York state attorney general’s office will investigate Facebook for its alleged unauthorized collection of 1.5 million users’ email contact database.

State’s attorney general Letitia James on Thursday (local time) wrote on her official Twitter handle, “BREAKING: We’re launching an investigation into Facebook’s unauthorized collection of 1.5M of their users’ email contact databases. Facebook has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of respect for consumer information while at the same time profiting from mining that data.”

The matter pertains to the social media giant earlier admitting that it ‘unintentionally’ uploaded the email contacts of 1.5 million new users to its system since May 2016.

In a separate tweet, the attorney general alleged that the total figure of individuals whose information was improperly used by the social media company could be hundreds of millions, instead of the claimed 1.5 million.

The tweet read, “Facebook claims 1.5M contact databases were harvested by its email verification process, but the total number of people whose information was improperly obtained may be hundreds of millions. It’s time Facebook be held accountable for how it handles consumers’ personal info.”

The matter came to light after a security researcher recently noticed that Facebook was asking new users to provide their e-mail passwords upon sign up. Once the password is entered, a message would prompt that the user’s contact was being imported, without any permission, reported Business Insider.

Following this, Facebook admitted that it ‘unintentionally’ uploaded the user data to improve ad targeting, make recommendations, and more.