The Indian government has taken note of the latest data breach on Facebook’s site, where over 50 million accounts on the social media site could have been affected. Facebook itself is not ready to accept that the accounts of its subscribers were compromised. They are limiting it to being ‘affected’.
Facebook has been meanwhile asked to furnish the details of the incident by Ministry of Electronics and IT of the Indian government. In a letter to Facebook, the Ministry has asked the company to let them know the impact of this data breach, particularly on the customers in India who number around 270 million, the highest on the platform from any single nation.
It is learnt that Facebook has responded to the Ministry’s communication and has informed that it is still assessing the impact and will come back with the details in a couple of days. Facebook says the leak has since been plugged. The Ministry may get its reply from Facebook by Wednesday, October 3.
Facebook has already been facing rough weather in India for some time and obviously some people were concerned about this new data breach, but it appears the Ministry has only sent a letter asking for clarity on the impact and no formal notice as such has been served on Facebook.
There is a CBI enquiry on the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data sharing episode. And then Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp is facing the heat following instances of mob violence over rumours being spread through WhatsApp group messaging. The company has taken several steps to correct some of these. There is also the WhatsApp Pay digital wallet which is stuck over issues of the 2-stage authentication and locating the data servers in India.
But those in the know point out that more than any direct impact of the breach in the Facebook site, the worry should be over what will happen to the details of sites that the Facebook users in the country would have visited and carried out transactions. These sites include Swiggy, Zomato, BigBasket, Hotstar, Tinder, Nykaa, SonyLIV, RentoMojo, FreshMenu, Chai Point, Quora, Snapchat, HealthifyMe, and Dominos. All these sites accept a login using the Facebook ID of the individual and there is no need for them to provide any other details.
Facebook says it has logged out some 50 million users and another 40 million possibly. That could be the saving grace and these sites may deny them the services till the issue is sorted out.