Facebook admitted on Wednesday that it may have “unintentionally uploaded” about 1.5 million users’ email contacts since May 2016. This admission happened as the tech giant continues to battle with privacy-related concerns.
“We estimate that up to 1.5 million people’s email contacts may have been uploaded. These contacts were not shared with anyone and we are deleting them,” Facebook told Reuters. They added that they will notify the users whose information was impacted and that the glitch has been repaired.
The company said that some email addresses were inadvertently uploaded to Facebook after they were used for verification when first-time users logged onto the site. The social media platform stopped offering email password verification when establishing accounts in March.
Business Insider was the first to report that the company had harvested email contacts for several users without knowledge or consent while they were opening their accounts. Business Insider reported that users got a message saying Facebook was “importing” contacts without asking for permission first.
This is just the latest in a slew of incidents that raised privacy concerns with the social media giant. The company was the focus of intense scrutiny last year after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a British political consulting firm, obtained the personal data of millions of users without their consent during the 2016 presidential election.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last month the company would become more privacy-minded moving forward.
“I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever. This is the future I hope we will help bring about,” Zuckerberg said in a post.
Facebook has also been criticized for inadequately preventing the spread of hate speech or misinformation during significant elections in the U.S. and across Europe.