In late September, an announcement was posted on a hacking forum that claimed to have the name, email, phone number, location, gender, and user ID of 1.5 billion Facebook users. One prospective buyer has allegedly been quoted at $5,000 per 1 million Facebook accounts. This would value the entire set of Facebook user data at $7.5 million.
In a subsequent post, the seller alleges to represented a large company that works to scrape Facebook for data. The seller adds that the company has been in operation for at least four years and has over 18,000 clients.
"In one post, the seller claims "We are legit company."
Web Scraping is a process that uses bots to extract publically available content and data from websites. If the seller is to be believed, it means no accounts have been compromised. However, the seller utilizing a hacking forum to garner clients does little to ease fears that the 1.5 billion Facebook users, the company allegedly has data on, won't suffer as a result. Dubious internet marketers and cybercriminals can now bid on these peoples' personal data and do with it as they see fit.
The news of 1.5 billion Facebook users' personal data being for sale comes at a particularly troubling time. It has been confirmed that Facebook and Instagram have been withdrawn from the global routing system of Domain Name System (DNS).
While at the same time, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp's domain names have been listed for sale. This is all in the wake of the bombshell "60 Minutes report" where whistleblower, Frances Haugen, claims Facebook knows that the platform spreads hate, violence, and misinformation and prioritizes that content as it generates more engagement and thus profit for the company.
The technical failures at Facebook have even prevented its employees from gaining access to company buildings as their access badges have stopped working. It has also been reported that Facebook's internal platforms are out as well.
The fallout from all of these scandals and failures have not been lost on investors. Facebook's stock has dropped 5.2% today, costing CEO Mark Zuckerberg $6.6 billion in personal net worth and dropping him to 5th wealthiest person on Earth according to Forbes.