100 Million Facebook Users Info Revealed Online


The personal details of 100 million Facebook users are now available to the world in a downloadable file. A guy named Ron Bowes, an online security consultant, posted it on the Internet site, Pirate Bay. Don't try to go back now and tighten up your security settings. If you had a public profile on Facebook, your info might be part of this giant file share.

Facebook says it's no big deal and that no private data has been compromised. That is technically true. People with private setting on their accounts were not hacked. But if you communicated private info to a friend who did not set high privacy limits, then your personal info might be part of that file. Some Internet security experts are worried about what it means and how easy it was to do it.

We keep getting these sinister reminders about our social networking sites, but many still ignore the possible threats. If you have ever been hacked, or had your identity stolen you will learn your lesson. In the meantime, we will have to hope the watchdogs are watching and the firewalls are holding.

I have a Facebook account and sometimes weeks pass between visits. If that sounds like you, then there is something very important to remember. Facebook says that each time it makes changes to its “look” or it's “layout” and you get a notice of some exciting change or Facebook upgrade, you need to go back in and reset your privacy settings. Facebook admits that when it makes those overall changes it resets your privacy settings, hoping you don't check. It allows Facebook to sell your info to advertisers and marketers. Facebook is a business that makes money off advertising, but it also makes money from your name, address, email address, phone number, age, likes and dislikes and any other info it can skim off your Facebook page.

That is why at least 15 consumer protection groups have filed formal complaints against Facebook with the Federal Trade Commission. If you are going to share your life with the world on Facebook, it might be a good idea to read the complaints and find out what the website is doing. You can decide for yourself if it's a good place to share information. Here is a PDF download of the actual complaint.


When I was a kid my mother would send me to the grocery store on my bike to get a few things she needed for lunch or dinner. I would spend an extra 15 minutes near the supermarket door reading all the postings on the big bulletin board near the shopping carts. It was an eclectic mix of things for sale, things wanted and thumb tack philosophy. If someone posted something you didn't like, you could just take it down.

It's a different world now. The bulletin board is much, much bigger.

Categories: Becker’s Digital Notebook