By: Alexa Silvia

Facebook has faced many concerns with privacy in recent weeks. Not only did it receive criticism for it’s new video chat devices that are installed in homes, it is also being criticized for a fault in it’s security system. This allowed hackers to gain access to 14 million user’s personal information including birth dates, hometowns, and recent searches on the website. Facebook user’s learned of this situation on October 12, 2018. As a result, Facebook is losing it’s consumers trust. Hackers were able to gain consumer’s information through a security flaw in its “View As” tool, which allows users to see their own profile how other users see it. However, this tool has currently been disabled. The identification of the hacker is unknown.

In this recent Facebook hack, those 14 million users that had their information stolen were not the only users affected. An estimated 50 million accounts were also affected in some way without the users of these accounts even realizing it. It is predicted that the breach may cause further problems until the issue is resolved and the website is secure again. In order to solve the issue with security and privacy, Facebook is working directly with the FBI to investigate further and give those using the online social media site a peace of mind after experiencing this invasion of privacy. The investigators have determined that the individuals behind the data breach used their own accounts to start stealing access tokens from their friends and then moving on to friends of friends. While Facebook is in the process of discovering who exactly initiated the latest attack on users, further information is due to be released as this investigation progresses.

Additionally, the government has become involved in the search for the individuals or the group behind this recent attack as well as establishing new guidelines for not only Facebook but other social media sites. In each country where users have been affected, these countries are being monitored and the statistics found in each one will be pooled together to contribute to resolving the problem. For users of Facebook, the company encourages consistently updating privacy settings. It is also important to check all other social media accounts to make sure they have not been affected as well. Multifactor authentication, or the use of many ways of securing online accounts, is the key to protecting private information related to anything on the web.

When it comes to the user’s protection and privacy, accepting friend requests from strangers and simply adding individuals because you share mutual friends may also be related to accounts being hacked. Without users being aware of connections to other individuals on social media sites, their information can be easily accessible and open to data harvesting or other sorts of hacking. It is still unclear how Facebook intends to reassure it’s users of the site’s security and the protection of their personal information.         This is not the first time that hackers have accessed Facebook user’s information and it may not be the last. In April of 2018, 87 million users were affected by a data breach. In the meantime, while the largest social media website in the world continues the investigation of this incident, users are able to determine whether or not their accounts were affected by the most recent data breach. Facebook has promised to update the public on any information that they should share when it is gathered from the investigation which may help regain Facebook user’s trust. However, this most likely will not occur until the problem is completely resolved.

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