It’s Too Late to Stop Trusting Facebook

For the 30 million people affected by the social network’s latest breach, the consequences may be lifelong

Damon Beres

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Photo by Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty

Years ago, before there were iPhones, smartwatches, or presidential tweets, I gave Facebook everything. And why not? I was a teenager, probably loaded on Busch Light and desperate to be “friended” by so many new people, their detailed profiles at my fingertips.

What seemed like an amazing promise when I signed up for Facebook in 2005 has become a crushing liability in 2018, when the world’s largest social network has by now suffered too many data breaches to remember. The latest, detailed by the company’s security team in a blog post on Friday, affected 30 million people. I’m one of them, and the prognosis is wrenching.

“Attackers” from an unknown source, with unknown motivations, were able to access the following information through my account:

  • My name
  • My email addresses
  • My phone number
  • My birthday
  • The fact that I’m married, and probably to whom
  • Where I’m from
  • Where I live now
  • Where I work
  • Where I went to school
  • The 10 most recent locations where I’ve been tagged
  • My 15 most recent searches on Facebook
  • Posts on my timeline
  • Who I’m friends with
  • Who I’m private-messaging with
  • Groups I’m a member of

Some people may have had it slightly worse — if, say, they’d listed their religious information — or better; users were affected to varying degrees. Regardless, the potential fallout is difficult to quantify. Any online account that uses my phone number to provide two-factor authentication is now compromised. My email address — which I use to login to, well, everything, is too. I can change any password, but committing to a new phone number, email address, or neighborhood is a different matter entirely. I don’t belong to a sensitive group on Facebook, but many people do; to be outed as a sexual assault survivor seeking support, for…

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Damon Beres

Co-Founder and Former Editor in Chief, OneZero at Medium