Giving your phone number to Facebook might not have been such a good idea: while the social network has barely faced the discovery of a database containing data and phone numbers of 500 million user accounts, the American media Motherboard announces that it has discovered a new leak of telephone numbers. According to American journalists, a new Telegram bot offers to retrieve the phone numbers of Facebook users based on the interests displayed on the social network. Thanks to this bot, a user can enter the URL of a Facebook page corresponding to a restaurant, a place, an organization or a music group, and in return obtain the phone numbers of users who have “liked” this page on the social network.
Motherboard thus managed to retrieve the phone numbers of its readers who liked its page on Facebook. Journalists have carried out several checks on the data disseminated by this Telegram bot, and they believe that it is data from a different source than that contained in the file of 533 million accounts unveiled at the beginning of last week. . The comparisons between the data obtained thanks to this new bot and the data present in the file show that the latter are not systematically the same.
The source is unclear
The bot allows you to return the phone numbers, name and gender of users who liked certain pages. Motherboard specifies that the information given by the bot is sometimes partial, and does not give the information of all the users who liked the page. Motherboard thus indicates that for a page totaling around 50 likes, the bot was able to provide the information of ten users.
The journalists from Motherboard were nevertheless unable to identify the exact source of the information disseminated through the Telegram bot. These could come from a recovery of public data on the social network, or an internal security incident at Facebook. The size of the database used by the bot is also not known. Neither Facebook nor Telegram have yet communicated on the subject.
Last week, Facebook had already found itself at the heart of a similar affair following the discovery of a file containing the data and telephone numbers of 500 million users. LinkedIn has faced a similar situation, and more recently the Clubhouse app. Social networks defend themselves by recalling that the data contained in these databases were public and therefore did not result from a security breach. This is not the case with phone numbers on Facebook, however, but Facebook believes it has done its duty by correcting the flaw that allowed users to reveal phone numbers in 2019.