Facebook did not respond to a request for comment, but a spokesperson told Business Insider that the company was deleting the contact data. Regardless of the intent behind this action, Facebook still admitted that it used the collected contacts to to improve its ad targeting capabilities. Facebook said these new users' contacts were "unintentionally uploaded" since May 2016, reports Business Insider. He noticed that when a new account was created, Facebook asked the user for their email password.
Facebook harvested the email contacts of about 1.5 million users when they signed up to the service.
Facebook said the issue began three years ago when it made changes to the step-by-step verification process users go through when signing up for an account on the platform.
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"The error was discovered amid a change to the sign-up process made in March, " Facebook stated in a publication by the US news website Business Insider.
We've woken up to the harms that could come from handing over that precious information about our social connections - for journalists it could mean revealing their contacts, for whistleblowers their dealings with regulators, for just about anyone their contacts with people they might not want their partners to know about.
To many, the idea that they should trust Facebook with their data seems more old-fashioned by the day. The company noted that users who had their contacts imported would be notified. Prior to May 2016 users were given the option to voluntarily import contacts to their Facebook account, however, that option then disappeared, but the import functionality remained and the contact importing happened automatically.
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"The mistake has been rectified and affected users are being informed, " Facebook added.
In an interview with a Yahoo News podcast she said: "I personally gave up Facebook, which was kind of a big deal because I started my campaign on Facebook".
"Last month we stopped offering email password verification as an option for people verifying their account when signing up for Facebook for the first time", a Facebook spokesperson said an a statement to Mashable.
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